‘The Final Plague #3:’ Advance Comic Book Review (Does This Look Infected?)

Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in. Adhering to the comment I made in my last The Final Plague review, recaps be damned (at least by them). The boys working with Action Lab aren't about to surmise what happened in previous issues, and, quite frankly, neither am I. Okay, I lied. The Final Plague tells a tale that, as partakers of most any media these day, we've seen a few times. The infected. Those that change from their original state of being to something else. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, fair weather fans of sports teams once they start doing well. The Final Plague skews from that well-worn material and spins it with something that hasn't been a real worry since the days of the Black Death. Infected animals. Jumping from one location to another across the fruited plain, we are shown that distance isn't a factor when it comes to these viral creatures . . . unless we find out in a future issue that the spreading of the virus has been happening longer than we have been shown to this point. We'll have to wait and see.

Picking up where the last issue left us, the story of two very different scenarios continues to play out. One, a rural family having fended off a swarm of rats with an aversion to death, leaving one friend dead on the ground (?...) and the paterfamilias going on a jaunty drive to the local hospital with the rest of the clan in tow. The other a New Jersey research lab, being recently put in a similar situation, shown from the perspective of the Captain in charge's log. Recalling the events as they unfolded, speculating if they themselves were the cause of the epidemic that soon followed.

Seeing how author Johnnie "JD" Arnold and artist Tony Guaraldi-Brown have cohesively pieced the work together thus far, it isn't a surprise that Issue #3 (of #5) takes a step up to convey the mounting stress of the situation. It does feel like a bridge issue, connecting the genesis of an event to an eventual boil, but it does take a bit of a slow burn to get rolling. Recent events continue to go from bad to worse, answers are few, emotions are high, and suspicions creep on as more information is uncovered. Or mostly uncovered. Speculation and theory produce little, but they're the most anyone can cling to until definitive answers can be provided. One thing is discovered and ten more questions spring anew. Someone needs to provide some sort of explanation and soon, otherwise things are going to take a drastic turn down the hole of man's fear tout de suite.

I very much enjoy the novelty of the animal spin on a much trodden genre. I was a bit apprehensive when the story started and stayed with the rat angle, feeling that this may be wandering into Willard territory. Once other creatures are shown with the same symptoms, it allays that concern and raises questions of how and where this animal maelstrom began, what can be done, and how will it end. If you haven't checked out The Final Plague yet, then take a moment and look for it at your LCS.

You can thank me later.

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