Tales of the Zombie #5
Issue(s): Tales of the Zombie #5
It's a nice gesture even if it's not clear if Simon Garth can appreciate it, and it's one of the more unusual twists in the series. The brief "friendship" between Phil and Garth is somewhat reminiscent of the Richard Rory / Man-Thing relationship, although it doesn't last as long and, as we'll see, it ends quite differently.
Last issue, Mr. Six saw that Phil Bliss had the Amulet of Damballah, so this issue he sends some goons after Phil.
Phil's semi-friends Steve and Gene from the Savor-It diner show up to help out, but they don't prevent the goons from getting away with the amulet. The goons themselves are rewarded with death when they deliver the amulet to Mr. Six.
But all of the handling of the amulet has caused Garth to rise from his grave again. The narration here raises a question for me. It's been in a second person point of view since the first issue ("For when you are under the spell of the amulet, nothing can distract you...."), but i kind of assumed that the perspective being given is Simon Garth's. So, for example, as the Zombie is walking along, he notices the coffee factory where he used to work as Simon Garth, and the narration says stuff like "you belong here".
So i assumed that the narration is giving us an accurate view into Garth's perceptions. But a little prior to finding the coffee factory, there's some commentary on the automobile, and man's greed and the "rape of a planet".
Knowing what we know about the pre-Zombie Simon Garth, that really doesn't sound like his point of view. It does sound a lot like Steve Gerber, though. So i'm not sure if this is meant to be Garth's thoughts, maybe with his zombification having given him a new perspective on, er, un-life. Or if it's just Gerber proselytizing.
In any event, here's the awesome result of Zombie Garth stumbling into his former place of business.
Simon Garth, Zombie CEO.
Garth still has enough presence of mind to not want to kill the security guards that show up to attack him, so he flees.
Meanwhile, Mr. Six brings one of his top lieutenants, a guy named Robert, to meet his boss, the hilariously named Papa Shorty (although the Table of Contents page warns me not to laugh at his name, because it means death). And here's why Shorty is so short.
Shorty begins to engage in a voodoo ritual that involves Phillip Bliss's ex-wife Lois. The whole thing freaks out Robert, who tries to flee just as Simon Garth is showing up, and Papa Shorty, who now holds the Amulet of Damballah, orders Garth to kill Robert. Then Shorty brings back Robert as a zombie and forces the two zombies to fight for the amusement of his followers. It doesn't last long but i'm not going to say no to a zombie fight.
At this point Phil, Steve, and Gene manage to locate Papa Shorty's base, but sadly this results in Shorty ordering Garth to kill Phil.
Phil's useless friends split, but Shorty finds the whole thing so amusing that he drops the Amulet, allowing Garth to operate of his own free will and burn the place to the ground.
In addition to the main story, this issue has the second half of the Chris Claremont text piece from two issues back, a review of the Bela Lugosi film White Zombie by Doug Moench, and another text piece re-reintroducing Brother Voodoo, who, it's said, will begin appearing in this magazine beginning next issue. But in fact, Brother Voodoo will only appear in next issue (in a story originally intended for Strange Tales #174) and #10, the final issue of this series (which, ironically, does not include a Simon Garth story).
This issue also has the following non-text pieces:
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Zombie's attack on the courthouse is said to have occurred "last week" (not necessarily "a week ago", right?). I'm keeping issues close together to try to catch things back up to publication date (we've been ahead of publication date since issue one because of the connection to Dracula Lives #2).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Tales of the Zombie vol. 1
Inbound References (2): showGene Gretch, Jeanette (Savor-It), Lois Bliss, Mr. Six, Phillip Bliss, Steve Bergen, Zombie (Simon Garth) 1974 / Box 8 / EiC: Roy Thomas
1974 / Box 8 / EiC: Roy Thomas
I like the views from the zombies eyes. It looks very haunting, as if Simon Garth is just a passive viewer to what his zombified body is doing.
Posted by: Bill | November 13, 2016 7:05 PM
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