When DC announced that their books would be staying (or in some cases, returning) to $2.99 an issue, there were a lot of cheers. But hidden in that announcement was the news that the standard length of their comics would be shifting from 22 pages of story and art, to just 20. (We now also know that those pages will shortly be replaced with letter columns.) Why is this being brought up? Keep reading.
Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s “iZombie” has continued to be a strong comic, month in and month out, as Gwen and company continue to struggle to hide their supernatural forms from those who would be either freaked out or worse by the knowledge. So this month, Gwen (secretly a zombie) goes on a date with Horatio (secretly a monster-killer), Scott (secretly a were-terrier) plays RPGs with his friends, Ellie (secretly a ghost) yearns to be able to interact with more people, and Professor Galatea (secretly… well, we’re not quite sure what) is holding a vampire prisoner and selling something mysterious to people on campus. And that’s not even including the other characters that don’t show up this month. In other words, there’s a lot going on at any given moment, and just about everyone has some sort of secret.
It’s when you hit the end of this issue, though, that everything just seems to stop with no warning. I suspect I’m not the only person who almost missed the “To Be Continued” at the bottom of the page and was surprised that we’d already hit the end of the issue. Except, of course, a quick examination revealed why: this was the first issue to only run 20 pages instead of 22. Now there’s no hard evidence that says that the following actually happened, and chances are it didn’t. But what “iZombie” #9 certainly feels like is that two random pages near the end of the comic were abruptly dropped. The scene with Galatea and her helper Claire seems like it’s missing a panel or two, and the final image involving Gwen and Horatio doesn’t seem to have much of a cliffhanger feel at all. (It’s all the more frustrating when you remember that Scott and his friends got three pages for the opening of the comic that could have certainly been trimmed down.)
On the bright side, two less pages a month means that there’s less of a chance of it going off schedule due to art delays, not that we’ve seen any signs of that from Allred. I love getting a monthly dose of art from him and Laura Allred, with his crisp lines and adorable character designs. I love that Allred gets the chance to go totally berserk when it comes to something as simple as a miniature golf course, with some of the most out of this world obstacles and settings to knock your golf ball through. And even something as simple as Gwen having a flashback (courtesy the last brain she’s eaten) is great; the purple wavy lines from the Allreds that radiate off of Gwen’s head look groovy and trippy, and it’s a nice visual shorthand for what’s going on with her.
I’m not saying that “iZombie” #9 is bad, because it’s not. Not at all. But it does feel like the book’s creative team might need a month or two to adjust to the new, shorter length for each issue. This issue just feels like it’s going through some growing (or should that be shrinking?) pains, that’s all.