By Martin Fisher (writer), Kurt Belcher (pencils), Steve Farfan (inks)

Risers came out last year, but this is the first I’ve ever heard of it. But then again, I’m not one to normally stray into indy territory. This book is totally not what I expected. I thought I’d be getting another typical zombie story or “Walking Dead” survival horror tale, but instead, I got something almost more human than human. Let me explain…

Risers begins with the the funeral of a young woman named Annette. Her death was nothing significant, she was hit by a car as her brother watched in horror. Her family has had months to mourn and get their lives back together when lo and behold, Annette comes home. She’s a zombie, alright, but all is not what it seems.

In this world, people who rise from the dead aren’t the mindless cannibals we’ve become accustomed to. They feel and think like humans. Annette is eventually apprehended and brought to an institution where “Risers” are educated about their new lease on life. Apparently, if a person dies and has some sort of “unfinished business” or sin they committed, they come back as a zombie and cannot rest until they make their peace. What seems to be Annette’s dilemma is the fact that she’s actually done nothing wrong to anyone… ever. This doesn’t stop her family from believing the contrary, however. They think she’s hiding some deep, dark secret.

But what if she’s not lying? What if she’s lived a clean life? What could her purpose for being raised be? There are the type of questions that not only nag at Annette, but the doctor who has been treating her. He’s got a theory, but it’s yet to be revealed.

I love this book’s premise. It brings a whole new twist to the zombie genre and it’s a very welcome one at that. Annette is a bit whiney as a protagonist, but that’s to be expected, especially if she’s this “goodie-goodie” person that she claims to be. She’s very human in essence, and I found the way her family treated her to be more callus and cruel than almost anything I’d see in a zombie flick.

This is a good start to the series. Kurt Belcher and Stever Farfan do an excellent job conveying the tone of the story with their stark black and white imagery. There’s times where it’s a bit too dark for my tastes, but otherwise, very solid storytelling. Great work, guys! If you’re interested in reading this book, Alterna Comics has a first four issues up for download here.  (Grade: A-)

– J. Montes