Tales of the Zombie #9
Issue(s): Tales of the Zombie #9
The Zombie brings Layla to the home of her grandfather, Papa Doc. He's able to revive her temporarily, but confirms that she is dying. However, before she dies, she begs Papa Doc to perform a voodoo ritual that will restore Simon Garth to human form for one day. Simon had been dimly thinking about the travesty of his (pre-Zombie) life...
...and this one day reprieve allows him to go about making amends.
He begins by tipping off the police as to the location of the Red Sects cultists that (with Layla, and along with the disgruntled gardener Gyps) were responsible for his turning into a Zombie in the first place. This tips off Lt. Jagger that Garth is "still" alive, and he's therefore taken off the missing persons list, but it also prompts Jagger to begin searching for Garth for questioning.
Garth then goes home to find that his daughter is marrying Bruce Mason. Garth finds that he approves of this, since Mason is such a dedicated man that he had been willing to sacrifice himself for his previous wife.
Garth meets his friend Anton Cartier...
...and says hello to his daughter Donna.
He even meets and makes peace with his ex-wife, Miranda, who we haven't seen before but is our best indication of how much he's changed.
He then leaves and meets with Brian Stockwood, the other half of Garwood Industries, Simon Garth's coffee factory. Garth sells his interest in the company, making sure the money gets split between his ex-wife, his daughter, and Teddy Masterson, the poor creature that he met in issue #6. He then tracks down the criminal Mr. Six, who survived the fire at Pap Shorty's mansion in issue #5, and kills him.
After that he spends a little time ducking the police and talking to Anton and Miranda before the change starts to happen and he heads back to Papa Doc's place. Or i should say, "drives back".
Having found his soul (i.e., by righting the wrongs of his life), Garth is able to use the Gris-Gris to end his zombie status and rest "forever".
Steve Gerber often used the Zombie in a way similar to the way he used the Man-Thing, as a sort of incidental character that encountered whatever strange things Gerber wanted to explore thematically. This issue, by Tony Isabella and with the middle section scripted by Chris Claremont, is more plot driven and more directly about the Zombie than many of Gerber's, but it actually has more humanity to it and it's a nice way for the series to end.
The Zombie will appear again, beginning in 1982's Bizarre Adventures #33 and then in a back up story in 1993's Daredevil annual #9 (and from there, comparatively more frequent appearances). It would have been nice for the Bizarre Adventures story to have been included in the Essentials trade. If space was an issue, we could have done with less of the weird voodoo text pieces or reprint horror stories. On the one hand it's nice to see the text pieces for historical purposes, but a lot of that stuff was unreadable (and it's not like they weren't being selective with what was reprinted; the lettercols are not included, for example) and i would have rather had another Zombie story. Leaving things this way does provide the trade with some closure, but the intention was actually to bring the Zombie back right away, as you can see from this ad.
But more on that next issue.
The Zombie story takes up most of the issue, but there's also non-continuity horror story, "Herbie the liar said it wouldn't hurt", by Doug Moench and Alfredo P. Alcala.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This begins soon after the end of the last issue, with enough time for Layla to have grabbed the Gris-Gris and for the Zombie to have staggered through the city with her for a bit.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Tales of the Zombie vol. 1
Inbound References (1): showAnton Cartier, Brian Stockwood, Bruce Mason, Donna Garth, Layla (Voodooienne), Mr. Six, Papa Doc, Samuel Jagger, Zombie (Simon Garth)
It's not clear what happens to Bruce Mason after this story. In a Spider-Man Unlimited issue, Hannibal King helps Donna Garth get the Zombie back from Lilith, Donna hits on him and King turns her down without mentioning her being married. It's possible Donna's divorced or widowed but OTOH, it's possible Donna just had a moment of weakness and King was too polite to mention she was married.
Posted by: Michael | January 20, 2015 11:54 PM
The Bizarre Adventures story actually takes place during the 1970s run, which makes its exclusion from the Essential even dumber.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 25, 2015 1:07 AM
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