by Chris Roberson (writer), Mike Allred (art), Laura Allred (colors), and Todd Klein (letters)

The Story: Gwen gets to know Amon, who explains the existence of monsters, while Horatio fights Claire the vampire.

What’s Good: After three issues of relaxed storytelling, it’s nice to see iZombie really lay down some big ideas.  Readers impatient with the slow pace should be somewhat appeased this month, as the book is given something of a new, or at least unexpected, direction and a great deal of information.

The core of it concerns the existence of monsters in this world and Roberson’s explanation is surprisingly intellectual and yet completely logical.  He brings forth the idea of the soul, but argues that every person has an oversoul and an undersoul.  How this ties into the various monsters who inhabit iZombie is very well put together and it’s great to see Roberson doing some world-building, crafting a kind of mythos that can be drawn upon in future.

The mummy Amon’s back-story is also explored a little bit as he takes Gwen on a tour through his memories, while introducing the above ideas.  I like Amon as a character; he adds a suave, mature voice to the comic that’s a good fit.  He’s a fun character and I look forward to seeing more of him.

Art-wise, this is another solid outing by Mike Allred.  I especially enjoyed his creative paneling, as Amon  inserts himself into his own memories while the page reflects the fact that he and Gwen have gone on mental walkabout.

Perhaps most promising though is the theme, or quest, that Amon brings up to Gwen; it seems that this comic might be about second chances, through being given another shot at life.  That theme, if explored, could be what takes this book to the next level.

What’s Not So Good: Unfortunately, despite some great ideas and solid characters, it’s still Roberson’s clumsy storytelling that hampers iZombie and stops it from being truly great.  There’s no getting around the fact that this issue is an info-dump, one so heavy on exposition that it feels like a lecture at times, even a reference book, great art notwithstanding.  I can’t see how Roberson couldn’t have introduced these ideas subtly or more gradually over the past four issues as opposed to just dumping it all on us in one issue through having a character deliver a lecture.  It’s just not exciting storytelling in the slightest.  Having an info-dump like this is inexcusable, given how relaxed and slow-paced the previous three issues had been.  It’s a shame when cool ideas end up making for an unexciting issue.

Worse still, the monster hunters continue to be incredibly bland.  I’ve reviewed every issue of iZombie thus far, and this seems to be a perennial complaint.  Worse still, Horatio looks to be a major player in the series moving forward, and I still couldn’t give a damn about him.  He and his mentor have yet to come remotely close to being more than cliché.  Roberson tries to give the hunters some history, but you know what?  Still boring, as it just ends up being Roberson bringing in yet more clichés and well-worn ideas.  When my two options this month were textbook exposition and action scenes involving characters I don’t care about (the vampires are almost as uninspired as the hunters), it makes for an unfortunately tepid comic book.

Conclusion: Great ideas again hindered by amateurish storytelling.

Grade: C

-Alex Evans