Dead Days (2014) – The 4th Day

Zombie, a genre it doesn’t really consider it as a genre. Actually, it’s a sub-genre of a horror genre itself. However, such a genre also has other genres, combining a zombie with comedy and romance. The word zombie itself was first recorded in 1819, Brazil, a poet by Robert Southey. It refers to the Afro-Brazilian rebel named Zumbi, the etymology of his name in “nzambi”. In Congo words, “nzambi” means God, gives the origin of the word as Central African according to the Oxford English dictionary.

According to Dey, zombies are like paradigm. He really wants to change the actual doctrine from its origin itself into his own “zombie” story. Yet, the author has a lot of influence from zombie films especially Victor Halperin’s “White Zombie”, Jacques Tourneur’s “I Walked with a Zombie”, and George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”. Even so, this manhwa has its own style, especially in the sphere of zombie culture as well. He takes a lot of references, a lot of influence, and a lot of literacy, especially if it’s just a horror and zombie story.

It starts with an outbreak, with such any lack of information, we don’t really know how this can all happen. At first, it’s just a normal day. However, the outbreak began slowly. Many zombies are on the streets while our protagonist is trapped in his room. Jingook Yeo is a young man, starving in his own room because his mother as well turned into a zombie while scratching his locked door. Yet, there is hope and belief that her mother is still aware of. She is not really a zombie.

Day after day, he can only survive with a potluck of food in his room but also remains helpless. In the end, he began to find hope, a girl of his age right in the back of his house. Hwayeon Lee, at the same time, has the same story. After meeting each other, Hwayeon tried to save Jingook from starvation and from a stranger who tried to break into his apartment.

“Dead Days” follow the main basic story you have found in what zombie movie or pop culture was. But, I don’t regret if the author doesn’t just write and mention many references, especially literacy in this manhwa. The more the story you know, it’s not just about zombies but it’s about how this can happen. Although I don’t really like how the author also explains everything, one thing I like about this manhwa is the reveal and message.

When films or other zombie medium tell its stories with a narrative structure but are inseparable from the entertainment element, “Dead Days” is just really different. How the zombie reacts with money is just another message to it. Dey took many theories in literature and combined them into a literary work of graphic novels. It’s about hoaxes, why humans easily absorb free information. It’s about the rise of capitalism, materialism, individualism, consumerism, and other conspiracy theories. And yet, it’s just amazing how a zombie is capable of flicking a variety of politics and people.

The attention is so detailed yet stunning. Everything in terms of artwork is really great and it has a distinctive style with one page to another. This manhwa is really different from any zombie and even apocalypse manhwa, manga, and movie all at once. There are so many correct amounts, the consistency of gore, the details on its background, the realistic design characters, and so many more.

The tone is set in a balanced way, makes us understand what’s coming next. It helps to distinguish the current event and the backstory. All of the multiple characters share their respective stories and besides we got our typical tropes, that’s just the surface layer. All characters have specific actions and decisions. It makes really understand not only from the standpoint of the protagonist as well as the antagonist. Especially, I love the part when the story really shines on Bindo‚Äôs arc, the antagonist in this manhwa. We understand his action and his character not only from how he can be a bastard. But, we understand how his situation, feeling, and development.

“Dead Days” brings a nice experience of what we’re really called a zombie horror medium and this brings the whole conventional into the end through the author’s mind. There is so much to analyze how a zombie we know now has a repetitive format. But, unlike this manhwa, a satire about how the reality of life in society works. It’s more any than zombie but it brings its concept to the whole. Just read this on Webtoon right now!

4 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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