When zombies are destroying your neighborhood, there’s only one phone number you need, that of zombie exterminators extraordinaire the Zee Brothers.
I hate zombie hunters with a passion stronger than a thousand exploding suns, or more accurately and with less hyperbole, stronger than that time you blew up a mailbox with an M80 as a kid. It takes a lot of energy and emotion to hate something, and zombies being both lazy and apathetic, hate just isn’t in our repertoire, but if there was something deserving of that emotion, for us it would be zombie hunters (or exterminators as the case may be). I understand your need for them, but zombies are so much more than mindless eating machines. We have our own art, our own entertainment, our own social programs, and even our own political wing that doesn’t do anything but screw us over for their own gain, so we have a lot more in common with humanity than you might expect. Sure, we’ll still eat you because that’s what we do, birds gotta swim, fish gotta fly kind of thing, or something like that, but that doesn’t mean we’re evil or in need of extermination. You ever have a zombie neighbor? Best neighbor you could ever have, quiet save for dinnertime, polite as can be, and considerate enough to put a gag in your mouth so as not to bother the other people in the neighborhood while you’re being consumed. Hell, we won’t even try to eat you as long as the door is locked, mainly because it takes too much effort and there’s always someone else who leaves their door unlocked, but it still counts towards points for being a good neighbor in my book. It’s not like you people give cows the same consideration when you move next to them, and I don’t see our bovine friends calling in assassins to take you out, though this could be due to cows not having properly mastered how to use a phone yet. Hopefully as soon as they do, they’ll call people like the Zee Brothers to do their dirty work because if zombie hunters were even a fraction as entertaining as those two, zombie exterminations would at least be fun.
Our tale begins in a gated community known as Winer Oaks where one Larry Pembleton has been having a pest problem. Unfortunately for him, what the exterminator finds isn’t rodents or insects, it’s zombies. It seems someone in the relatively new development was doing some landscaping when they came across a bag of bones and an amulet that they unceremoniously trashed, bringing back the Native American priests that were buried underneath Mr. Pembleton’s house. Realizing that this is beyond what he’s capable of, the exterminator referrers the homeowner to the only two people he knows of that are capable of dealing with a zombie infestation, the Zee Brothers. The two brothers have gotten quite adapt at dealing with the undead over the years, but this is something new even to them and things quickly go from bad to worse. Thankfully they’ve got a little bit of help in the form of a young woman named JJ and her very unusual dog Xanadu. Together this small group will have to stop the vengeance seeking Pakatini tribe from cursing the living, or die, and come back, trying.
As much as I might not personally care for those that hunt the living dead, I have a confession to make; I love them when it comes to books or movies, but there’s almost always a problem with how they’re portrayed. If a piece of cinema and/or literature is going to feature professional zombie hunters, you can expect said hunters to be an amalgamation of John McClane, Lt. “Cobra” Cobretti, and every single Arnold Schwarzenegger character from the 70’s and 80’s minus Hercules in New York. I completely understand why it’s done that way since it adds to the fantasy and the excitement; no one wants to watch a Terminator film where Arnold goes around trying to do anything but shoot his way through problems, and we expect our zombie slaying action heroes to be the same. Still, it’s nice to every now and again meet some zombie slayers that we can relate to a little better, and that’s where the Zee Brothers come into play. I adored the characters of Judas and Jonah Zee partly because I know people exactly like that, just without the title “Zombie Exterminator” on their nametag. They’re gruff but not without sympathy, skilled but still a bit bumbling, and they show a whole range of emotion beyond simply “being badass.” They also play off each other very well, bickering and competing against one another, but ready to do anything for each other. They were very real characters and what I imagine most people would actually be like if they were to try the glamourous world of zombie extermination. Don’t take that to mean they’re boring, quite the opposite, they were a lot of fun to read about, their adventure containing just enough comedy to be humorous without becoming corny nonsense. These two definitely hooked me, and they weren’t the only great characters to be found because there’s also JJ and her little dog Xanadu. JJ is great, not only does she give something else for the Zee Brothers to compete over, but because she was a good character in her own right, adding her own brand of humor and heart to the story. Now her dog Xanadu, well, Xanadu is a very special dog and what he can do might determine whether this is the story for you.
I’m not going to spoil what that ability is. I’m hoping you’ll give Zombie Exterminators a read, and I want you to experience what I did upon realizing what Xanadu could do, namely the massive smile I couldn’t keep off my face. It’s utterly ridiculous and absolutely fantastic at the same time, and I don’t think any other story could have pulled it off the way this one did. You have to understand that this is not a zombie tale with a serious tone, it’s more light hearted and fun (you’ll notice the word fun gets used quite frequently in this review) tale that reminded me a lot of the more enjoyable zombie films from the 80’s. It’s got that same over the top, anything goes kind of vibe, to the point where you really have no idea what to expect, and it works perfectly. Considering just how difficult something like that is to do correctly, this is a major achievement. Not only do you get the fun (there’s that word again) of reliving your favorite B zombie movie, you get a good deal of nastiness as well. It might not be a gore fest as this is a more character driven story that doesn’t require constant blood and guts, but what you do get is described in all its gory goodness. After all, what’s a zombie tale without some good gore, but, much like the rest of Zombie Exterminators, that gore is peppered with the same brand of humor unique to the tale.
The Zee Brothers: Zombie Exterminators is an excellent book for those that, like myself, need an outlandish zombie tale with both heart and humor. If I had any complaint, it’s only that there’s not a whole lot more I can read about the Zee Brothers as of right now. There’s a prequel comic that you can bet your ass I’ve already bought and look forward to checking out, but here’s hoping that isn’t the last I see of the Zee Brothers.
You Can Purchase It Here: The Zee Brothers on Amazon
The Undead Review
Published By: Grivante Press
Written By: Grivante
Illustrated By: Elbert Lim, Jonathon Chanutomo, and Joey Masciotra
Publication Year: 2015