Lots of video games are made to be played from the first-person perspective. People regularly complain about this. But what about a first-person comic book? That's a little less ordinary.
This twist in presentation was enough to make even old, cliched zombie trophes feel new in Brian Ralph's graphic novel, Daybreak. The reader is pulled into a world that's mysteriously full of walkers. Unsurprisingly, society has gone to hell and there's not many survivors. That's just how things go in zombie-land, right? Thankfully, you buddy up with a charming one-armed man. The graphic novel follows you as you try to survive amidst a relentless horde, scarce supplies and crazy survivors. You know, standard zombie fare.
A real video game inspiration runs through the heart of Daybreak. Though I couldn't directly interact with the characters despite being the 'protagonist,' it still felt very intimate—at least, for a graphic novel. Actually, the inability to respond to dialogue felt amusingly familiar given the ubiquity of silent protagonists!
Despite the cartoony style, the comic has a few harrowing gut-punches and no shortage of thrills. You may not come face-to-face with many zombies—I mean, if they're that close then you're probably doomed—but the threat is always looming.
Being unable to act outside of what Ralph explicitly dictates also adds to the tension. There's nothing like feeling helpless when things are falling apart, after all. And after your one-armed friend goes out of his way to help you and keep you safe, trust me, you're going to panic when you can't intervene.
Daybreak can be purchased from Amazon here. It's a quick summer read, but a worthwhile one.