A category five hurricane sweeps through the Southeast, uprooting ancient mosquitoes carrying a virus that causes the infected to crave human flesh. One year later, with no cure in sight, the region has become split over what to do with the victims. For the Hansen family, the answer is simple: kill them. However, all of that changes when the virus infects people they love. CANNIBAL is about a small Everglades town that is just trying to hold onto their everyday lives at the dawn of a cannibal pandemic. Told through the eyes of the Hansen family, it’s an anti-apocalypse story about a community that is too damn stubborn to give in.
I’m not going to pretend the “Southern Apocalypse” hasn’t been done to death at this point. It really began and ended with Preacher, and everything after that has been sort of pro forma. For some reason everybody wants to see Southerners killing each other…must be a Yankee thing.
Anyway! Cannibal isn’t bad. Instead of grunting hordes of idiot brain-eaters lining up for a broadhead lobotomy aka The Walking Dead, we have a slow-boiling detective story with horror elements. Characters show up, characters disappear, people hurt each other, and every so often someone gets eaten. It’s great Southern Gothic, set in the tangled hell of the Florida swamplands. The art is workmanlike, and the writing is well done. I also appreciate the respect they give their Southern characters, treating them like real people with real problems rather than weird protohumans.
But Cannibal’s greatest asset – its restraint – is also its biggest weakness. It’s intriguing, and I’m mildly interested to see where it goes, but nothing about it really grabbed me. Maybe if the characters were a little more interesting, or there were hints of a larger crisis unfolding, or it cultivated an atmosphere of doom a la Postal…anything, really. As it stands, it’s a bit vanilla.
All in all, Cannibal is a solidly-written, workmanlike comic. With a little bit of imagination, it could have been a great comic.
Final Verdict: 3 out of 5.
Cannibal Vol. 1 can be found at Image Comics
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.