Vampires and Zombies have become well tread ground in modern entertainment, and comics are no different. From "The Walking Dead: Compendium One" to "I, Vampire Vol. 1: Tainted Love (The New 52)", there are plenty of excellent tales of the undead. What separates "The New Deadwardians" from the pack is how startlingly human the tale it tells truly is.
The world of "The New Deadwardians" is set in Post-Victorian England. The dead now walk the earth and consume the living, as they are want to do. To combat the threat of the restless, the zombies, the royal army takes "the cure" which turns them into vampires. Because the young, what the vampires are called because of their eternal life, are dead, the restless, who feed on life, pay them no attention. The story picks up after the war. The affluent of society, mostly consisting of the young, live in Zone A, while all the rest of society is cordoned off in Zone B.
The central character of "The New Deadwardians" is Chief Inspector George Suttle. George is of the Young, and the only remaining member of the Zone A murder squad, because that which does not live cannot be killed; right? It is this question that becomes the central theme for the story. In his hunt for the truth, George not only uncovers a shocking secret about the empire, he also learns more about himself, and his humanity, which he had believed long gone.
The strongest aspect of "The New Deadwardians" is the writing, and how effective a narrator George Suttle turns out to be. Because of his dour nature, time in the military, and immortal status, George's insights on the situation and humanity as a whole come from a perspective not often seen in comics. A few issues in and you will be able to tell who is of the young, and who is bright, or a normal human, just by reading their dialogue. that is how strong a handle Dan Abnett has on these characters.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the artwork in this series. I.N.J. Culbard deserves all the credit in the world for how expertly this series is drawn. He deftly conveys characters emotions, or lack there of, which when combined with the precise, elegant nature of Abnett's story, gives this books a brisk pace. The only nitpick I have with the art is that in a few of the more kinetic conflicts, I felt they came off a little flat. That is a minor gripe however, and very well may be an issue other people won't have.
"The New Deadwardians" is a fresh take on well tread subject matter, that has peerless writing, incredible artwork, and was one of last years best series. It is an incredible read, and a must buy.