The members of Fiat Lux are falling to the undead horde as a horrible truth is revealed in PESTILENCE #4 from Aftershock Comics. Author Frank Tieri continues the trend of letting readers learn more about the individual members of the group before getting back to the chaos they have found themselves in. In this issue we see the true origins of Abel and the reason behind his quiet nature. While that revelation is startling it is nothing compared to the fact that the entire mission of Fiat Lux is already a failure as the Pope himself is beginning to turn to the undead. All that is left is survival and a after a mad dash through the dark teeming with the dead another member of Fiat Lux has been compromised by the horde.
Zombie stories might be a little too common these days but PESTILENCE captures the key elements that made THE WALKING DEAD so good. This is a story about people with the undead as a backdrop. The zombies are never the focus, the focus remains steadfastly fixed upon the individuals of Fiat Lux and their relationships with each other and THAT is what makes the book such a great read. Shifting alliances, long kept secrets, and the loss of comrades are all tearing at the group apart and Frank Tieri is crafting a story that keeps the reader guessing. The pacing is breakneck only to slow down at the cliffhanger leading up into issue #5.
Pencils from Oleg Okunev are appropriately gruesome as heads and limbs of the undead horde are flying off in every other panel. I really do like the gritty look of the book and his use of panels to control pacing allows the book to slow down and speed up where needed. PESTILENCE is a new twist on a familiar formula but it is expertly executed with a core group of characters that have grown on me in only four short issues. The tension is reaching a fever pitch and I am looking forward the coming answers around this new take on the black plague.