Yipee Ki Brain, Motherscratcher!: Review for iZombie 410 by A. Zombie
Where you going, punk? Don’t you know there’s episode spoilers in this neighborhood?
Major is the new hero is town. Well, at least in the Fillmore-Graves building. How long will his cohorts hold him in high esteem once they learn his ex-girlfriend is Renegade? What about his roommate, the underground zombie doctor? Sure Chase Graves trusts Major with literally his life right now, but he’s also a man about to watch everything he built crumble because he failed Dictatorship 101—which clearly states a leader should make sure he’s got a steady food supply for his people, or they’ll kill him. History is rift with leaders given a violent boot from the timeline when they couldn’t provide. Chase leans hard on Major to fix all his problems, and may even force the former Team Zombie member onto the guillotine before his own well-groomed head hits the steel. It’s clear after the final confrontation with Liv, Levon, and Major that he’s very much on the wrong side of history, here. His former friends will not be merciful if they all survive the chaos about to erupt from the religious corner of the city. His only hope is to get Roche to give up his boss. It won’t be easy. These guys are working a serious game, with the police and Fillmore-Graves completely unaware they’ve even sat down at the chess board.
Liv herself is pretty uninspiring this episode. The Brain of the Week belongs to Detective Benedetto, the epitome of scumball LEO. This charming chap was capped giving confession at church. Clive’s got three main suspects, all of whom were involved in a crime with a huge loot hidden somewhere in the city, according to AJ, one of said suspects. AJ claims Benedetto must’ve been killed because he wants the loot for himself. The theory sticks, seeing as Liv’s pretty much useless on this guy’s brain. She can’t even really work the case after whacking one suspect with a fish. Thanks to this, we never see any more action from the case unless it’s through Clive’s enthusiastic retellings. He gets the guy, by the way. And it is funny as hell to watch Clive fling himself around to replay his big off-screen fights.
Since Liv’s off the case, she spends way more time taking care of Renegade’s duties in this episode than in previous. It doesn’t seem like much, since most of the work is done in a montage, but she’s pretty serious about the trafficking thing, even on the brain. Everything’s running smoothly. Even one of her coyotes feels secure enough to announce he’s getting married. Then Fillmore-Graves happens. Curtis, the newly engaged guy, is nabbed and threatened by Chase himself. Curtis spills a cover story about Brother Love, which buys Levon enough time to get Liv for a rescue mission. Only, Renegade’s blessing comes with their scratch, and that’s the only thing Liv can give Curtis in the end thanks to FG’s security measures at the safe house.
The one person Liv still can’t save is Isobel, who’s now officially staying in Seattle to run tests with her mother’s blessing. Over a month-long montage, we see Ravi performing virtually every non-evasive test possible. Unfortunately, they all yield answers he could’ve predicted. Nothing special jumps out from her tests screaming it’s the key to a cure. Ravi’s upset about it, but what can he do? Well, he can start by not becoming a helicopter parent to a teenage girl overnight. Thanks to some serious binge-watching, Isobel has a huge crush on one of the actors from Liv and Ravi’s favorite show, Zombie High. With Liv on a brain with the impulse control of a gnat, she sets up a date for Isobel, sending Ravi into a full-blown meltdown. Why? Because Isobel’s finally feeling her mortality and being reminded that she’ll likely never fall in love every time she sees her new adult guardians flirting can’t be doing good things for her mental health. The post-date scene with Ravi policing Isobel’s right to her own body is pretty much what I expected from this writing team. At least they’re clear on the messages they send to women.
Parenting takes a vastly different form when we hop over to see how Blaine is dealing with Angus and his flock. By all rights, Blaine should just catapult his father over the wall and be done with the manipulative bastard. Somehow, some way, Angus manages to get back in his boy’s head. Blaine takes up the offer to join his father at church. He even plays a song for the congregation! A few flattering words likening Blaine to Jesus and the guy is putty for his father to shape into a new weapon. Wonder if Lambert will report Blaine’s activities to Graves, or if he likewise will fall under Angus’ influence. That’d be a huge shift in power for the city, and the city cannot handle a power struggle so soon after the mass zombie creations.
We stayed in touch with Zombification Specialist Billy Tackett after our interview with him earlier this year, and now Billy is one of our Special Forces operatives. Back in February he hinted that there were some fun projects in his future, but didn’t want to jinx himself. Now we’re finally getting a sneak peek at what’s kept him up to his eyeballs in rotting flesh for the last few months.
Billy has taken his iconic Zombie Sam image and turned it on it’s head, creating Dead, White, & Blue Comics, a graphic novel centered around Zombie Sam and his Fightin’ Yanks. The artwork harkens back to older comic book styles while delivering on the grotesque and twisted humor. Hope y’all have a strong stomach for this one.
From billytackett.com, “During World War 2 Sam & His Fightin’ Yanks were a comic book sensation. Every red-blooded American kid followed their monthly adventures in Red White & Blue Comics, never knowing that their favorite Star-Spangled heroes were actually based on real live super powered beings! During the final days of the Great War something began to go terribly wrong. Sam and his partners Fannie and the Sarge began to turn into horrific, cannibalistic monsters! They were taken out of service and put into suspended animation.
Fast forward to the day after tomorrow: The evil that Sam & His Fightin’ Yanks battled decades before has returned with a vengeance! Every man, woman and child on Earth are in danger. Our only hope lies in the monsters we once called heroes…”
The creative plot and use of existing zombie pop culture references has us really looking forward to Dead, White, & Blue Comic’s release. Billy has a 14-page teaser up on his website right now. Crawl on over and get a taste of what is to come from this amazing artist.
The ZSC command met Billy Tackett Zombification SpecialistTM through his Zombie Sam pic. At the time, we didn’t know who created the wonderfully decrepit looking Sam, but we knew good Zombie art when we saw it. Since then, we had a chance to check out Billy’s site and impressed is an understatement for how we feel about his wicked talent. We interviewed Billy to learn more about him and to share him with the crew – ’cause he is someone worth getting to know.
ZSC: A lot of your artwork is centered around the undead. Would you consider yourself a zombie sympathizer?
BT: I don’t like the term “sympathizer”. I have been creating zombies and other undead creatures since the mid 70s. The oldest drawing I have is of a vampire from around ’77 or ’78 which would have put me around 7 years old so zombie sympathizer would be an understatement! I mean my career is based on these guys. I wouldn’t dare think of biting the hand that feeds me regardless of how rotten and decrepit it is. The “World’s Foremost Zombification SpecialistTM” has to be pro-zombie.
BT: That’s an idea that just kind of evolved and is still evolving. I did the black & white Zombie Sam for a publication back in ’04 or ’05. A year or so later I created the color version. The response from those two pieces were pretty over-whelming so I added Fannie the Flesheater (Rosie the Riveter). And then Sgt. Rot. At some point while working on these pieces I got the idea to zombify other images and since I was already working on American icons I thought that would be a nice series. Combining my patriotism with zombies was perfect.
Keep in mind that I was doing all this four or five years ago which was way before the “zombie mash-up craze” that’s going on now. People were a little unsure how to take what I was doing at first glance. And now it has evolved to include the graphic novel which will be out later this year and possibly some other cool projects that I won’t mention because I don’t want to jinx myself.
ZSC: You’ve tackled some pretty famous faces and turned them into zombies. Who do you think made the most ideal zombie?
BT: That’s tough. I think the best ones are the most unexpected ones. My Breakfast Is Tiffany is probably the best example of that. Several people have done their own versions now so it’s pretty common but when I first did it people were taken aback a little. The imagery coupled with the title is a great combo.
ZSC: Monsters seem to have a large part in your life. Which monster do you feel you have the most in common with?
BT: When I was younger I connected with vampires but as I get older I seem to gravitate towards Frankenstein’s Monster more and more. I grew up in rural Kentucky and I was always into horror and heavy metal music. You know, with the long hair and the black t-shirts and such. So I had always been stereotyped by those that didn’t really know me as being scary. And now I find that when people find out I’m a horror artist the same stereotypes are applied. “Anyone that can imagine such bloody and scary images ain’t right in the head!” But as most of us in the horror industry know that’s not always the case.
Even with all the strangeness that goes along with my chosen career path we lead a pretty normal life. It’s probably more normal than the lives of most “normal” people! So the parallels between myself and Frankenstein’s misunderstood creation can be pretty close. Except for the torches and pitchforks…
ZSC: Who do you think will be Zombiefied next by your pencil (or brush)?
BT: Right now I’m finishing up a zombified Tyler-Davidson Fountain which is a Cincinnati landmark. I have a list that’s as long as my arm and I don’t think too far ahead but my very next piece will be Happy Days’ Fonzie. After that, who knows?
ZSC: A loved one has been made into a monster (ravenous vampire, zombie, werewolf…) would you be able to “put them down” in order to ensure they do not harm others?
BT: I’m not sure “putting them down” would be an option. What if ‘monsterism’ is the next stage in natural evolution? Do we have the right to interfere with mother nature? Wouldn’t the killing off of werewolves, vampires or zombies be akin to genocide? Or at least the extermination of a species? Conservation should be the keyword. We live in a world filled with endangered species lists. I’m not sure we can justify killing off a creature just because it wants to eat us.
ZSC: You have a wide ranger of products for your work in addition to your comic books: T-Shirt designs, logos, book and magazine layouts and design, tattoo’s, ads, web sites, signage, movie poster, murals, and photo restoration. Which is your favorite type of project to work on and why?
BT: I prefer just plain old oil painting regardless of subject matter. Everything else is a nice change but oil painting is a medium that if I’m away from it too long I start to miss it. And then I start to think about it a lot. It’s an addiction.
ZSC: In the event of a zombiepocalypse what weapon would you choose to fight off the undead?
BT: Who said anything about fighting them off?
Be sure to check out Billy’s site, although in his Bio he issues the following warning: Avoid visiting www.BillyTackett.com if you suffer from heart problems, weak stomach,fear of the dark or a shortness of a sense of humor.