WARNING: Zombie Tramp contains mature content and reader discretion is advised.
Now that that is out of the way. BOOBS AND GORE. BOOBS AND GORE EVERYWHERE.
Ok, ok let me back up a bit. Zombie Tramp: Sleazy Rider is the second volume of Action Lab’s series. The comic is written by Dan Mendoza and Jason Martin, with artwork by Dennis Budd, Anna Lencioni, and Winston Young. The story here follows Janey Belle, the call-girl-turned-zombie, on a series of bloody and darkly humorous adventures.
We first find Janey on the road, stopping at a roadside bar to freshen up. She uses her feminine wiles to entice the bar full of lonely truckers and bikers before she feasts. Later, a trucker arrives at said bar, finding Janey and her handiwork. After a bit of banter, the trucker reveals himself to be a werewolf, and the two have a brawl. Janey uses every bit of the dead around her to fend the werewolf off, although he does get some good hits in, including launching a chair at Janey’s back. Janey and the wolf engage in a motorcycle and truck chase, which is where one of my favorite moments of the comic occurs. Janey tosses a hand flipping the bird at the furball, it pokes him in the eye, drops to his lap and grabs onto his *ahem* stick shift, causing him to crash. From here, Janey’s encounters include a dip into an illegal fight club, a fast food feeding frenzy, and a showdown with both a meat packing plant and a horny teen who gets a hold of Janey’s necronomicon.
To say that this book is wild would be an understatement of epic proportions. Zombie Tramp is one of the most unabashedly sexy and violent comics I have ever read, and I love it. Budd, Lencioni and Young’s art all mesh well together, not deviating too much to confuse the reader. That is not to say they look the same, as each artist brings up a different facet of Janey and the world as a whole. Dennis Budd’s art seems to focus more on violence, showcasing blood, torn clothes, and destruction in a way that makes it feel unreal yet still visceral. Meanwhile, Winston Young’s work brings out a more sexualized feeling, especially from Janey. Her *cough* assets are well drawn and well showcased. The use of color makes each character, however small or unnecessary, feel vibrant and alive. That feeling also helps to make each death feel more significant, as we see the once-living turn into the flesh hungry zombies that Janey controls.
Something like Zombie Tramp always has to avoid the issue of being gory, violent, or overly sexual simply for the sake of it. Thankfully, Mendoza and Martin’s writing pulls the story away from that pure exploitation and gives Janey a certain heart to her. Despite the amount of death and blood surrounding her, I found myself rooting for Janey the whole time, especially in her scenario where she finds herself trapped by a loser teen who has gotten hold of her necronomicon.
We also get backstory on Janey, dropping in on a revealing and sad moment from her life as a human. This flashback causes her to take pity on the teen who has her book, which ends up biting her in the ass. It is important to get these dramatic moments in a comic like this, and Mendoza and Martin handle them very well.
All that being said, the writing at times can be a bit terse. There are moments where dialogue can be too on the nose, as well as a few moments of one word text bubbles that could have been expanded on to either advance character or the plot itself. Considering these issues though, I found Zombie Tramp: Sleazy Rider to be a violent thrill ride with a still-beating heart inside of it that kept me involved from beginning to end. This comic is certainly not for everyone, as the blood and boobs can be very in your face. But for those who can survive the onslaught of mature imagery, you’ll find a very fun and very dark motorcycle ride down the highway to Hell. And you’ll be howling and hooting the whole way down.
What do you think about Zombie Tramp? How do you think that bikini top is holding her in? Do you agree with me, or should my brains get eaten? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!