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Comic Review: ‘I Am Legend: Awakening’
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Week of Geek: I Am Legend

WEEK OF GEEK SERIES: I AM LEGEND: PART V

DC/Vertigo has created a free online comic book that serves as a prequel to the upcoming Warner Bros. film, I Am Legend, which sees a deadly virus leave one human survivor on Earth (Will Smith starring as Robert Neville) amongst a newly formed race of humans-turned-vampire/zombies.

There are four issues in the online series, titled I Am Legend: Awakening, set in the world of Richard Matheson‘s 1954 novel I Am Legend and told through the experiences of some of the earlier survivors before the introduction of Robert Neville. The virus at this point has killed off many people, but those who’ve survived are either immune or infected, the latter transformed into vampire-like beings who, after dark, prey on the living.

Part I: “Losing Voice: Ethan’s Story
Written by Steve Niles (“30 Days of Night”) with art by Bill Sienkiewicz, this first issue tells the story a young boy named Ethan. Ethan and his little brother are in the car with their parents stuck in traffic. On the radio, there’s no weather or traffic reports, only the emergency broadcast system warning that “This is not a test,” yet they’re not sure whether to evacuate the city or return to their home. The online format is too small, making it difficult to read and the already unclear art even more indistinguishable at times. But this story gives us the first glimpse of the “infected” and what the virus has done to them.

Part II: Death As A Gift
Set Hong Kong, China, this issue is written by Dawn Thomas and illustrated by Jason Chan and features one of the immune Jinghua Xu. It’s a very short story, so I’ll refrain from any further details. The artwork is beautiful and while its 3 illustrated pages only made me want more of this particular setting, its brevity makes a very powerful statement.

Part III: Isolation
This installment can be played at Apple Trailers and comes complete with a score and a narrator. Written by Mark Protosevich, who wrote the initial draft of the upcoming I Am Legend screenplay, and illustrated by David Levy, “Isolation” brings us to a Colorado prison. Here, everyone is being evacuated, but the warden decides to leave one of the worst offenders to die in his cell. If it wasn’t for the word balloons, “Isolation” could pass for an animated short (it even had a director!). Art-wise, the opening and closing panels were my favorite, and again, just this small bit of story made me want to know the background tale of this mysterious prisoner.

Part IV: Sacrificing the Few For the Many
Also available at Apple Trailers, this black-and-white offering has a story by Dawn Thomas with illustrations by Jason Chan. Another installment to be “watched,” this final issue contains a score, but no word balloons or any text, except to say it’s somewhere in Central America. Set to music with vocalizing, this story takes place at a containment center where people infected by the virus are being treated and two children nearby watch as the facility is attacked by military troops. This was done by the same creative team as issue #2, so it has the same feel of desperation. With this final issue, the message is clear: all hope is lost.

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