First published back in April of 2007, Steve Niles’
28 Days Later: The Aftermath’ is a graphic novel based on Danny Boyle’s film 28 Days Later’ (2002), which begins with the development of the virus before the film itself commenced, and concludes with a series of events that lead into the film’s sequel 28 Weeks Later’ (2007).

The graphic novel is split into four chapters, each one telling their own unique story, which together form a much broader picture of the devastating events portrayed within the two films.

Screenplay writer and film producer, Steve Niles, wrote the four stories included in the graphic novel, with the artwork done by Dennis Calero for Stage 1, Diego Olmos and Ken Branch for Stage 2, Nat Jones for Stage 3, and Dennis Calero again for Stage 4.

DLS Synopsis:
Stage 1: Development - 23 pages
Clive couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the CCTV playback in front of him.  Violence like you’ve never seen before. Pure, unadulterated thuggery.  But he needed to see it.  He needed to understand.  To get to the root of the matter.  Because that’s what scientists like him needed to do.  But his colleague, Warren, had something else planned.  Somehow he’d negotiated access to one of the thugs they’d just witnessed; and now they were going to run their tests on him.  Forget chimps – their experiments to rid the world of extreme aggressive violence were going to be performed on their end user.  But somehow, for some reason, the experiment went wrong.  Instead of removing tendencies for violence, the experimental bacterium had done the reverse.  It had infected the test subject with pure rage.  Unwittingly the two scientists had created a lethal virus using a genome in a strain of Ebola as the delivery system.  A highly contagious virus that would spread pure rage if it were ever to get out.  News that Clive is far from happy about…

Stage 2: Outbreak
- 23 pages
Twenty-four hours after the ‘Rage Virus’ first got out and in Cherry Hinton Hall in Cambridge, Rog and his wife Barb have taken their three kids – Sophie, Sid and Liam - out to the park for a picnic.  However, when their youngest son, Liam, is attacked by a rage infected monkey, their day out quickly spirals into that of a hellish nightmare.  The paramedics quickly whisk the convulsing young boy away in their ambulance, heading for the centre of London whilst his distraught family follow closely behind.  But when they finally arrive there, all hell has broken loose in the once thriving capital city.  Murder, violence and mayhem is everywhere.  The streets are awash with uncontrolled rage.  And spilling out from the back of the ambulance is another of the blood-crazed, hungry for the streets of London…

Stage 3: Decimation
- 23 pages
When everyone either fled or became one of the infected, he stayed put, surviving on his own on the streets of Britain’s capital city.  And now he saw them as his streets.  His home turf.  And he’d kill every last one of them in order to stay there.  But what he hadn’t banked on was there being another lone survivor just like him, out in this dangerous concrete jungle.  But when the new arrival takes a couple of pot-shots at him to put him in his place, he has no choice in the matter - it’s time for war.  After all, no one moves in on his turf, and no one tries to make a fool out of Hugh Baker…

Stage 4: Quarantine
- 23 pages
Awakening in a hospital, Clive finds that his self-inflicted gunshot wound didn’t end it all for him.  Instead, here he is being looked after by a girl named Sophie who’s one of many in a locked-down quarantine whilst the infected are left to gradually starve to death outside the supposedly protected perimeter.  It’s a situation that Clive knows won’t last for long.  He’s got to get out.  He knows he still has work to do.  But first he needs to recover.  But news of a new arrival named Hugh has tensions running high.  After reportedly taking pot-shots at the scouting planes as they flew over London, Hugh has already made a name for himself as a highly volatile individual.  Not a characteristic that’s all that popular in the current climate.  But Hugh has other ideas about being kept locked away in a giant quarantine.  He wants out, and he’s more than happy to take Sophie, her brother Sid and the scientist along with him…

DLS Review:
Starting off prior to the ‘Rage Virus’ that was accidentally unleashed on the world, the first chapter (or ‘stage’) of the graphic novel was always going to be a bit slower in pace than those that proceed it.  And indeed, it does take a little while for the action to really kick in.  However, these early glimpses of how the virus came about nevertheless make for equally intriguing and enthralling reading.

From the outset, Niles clearly has a plan of action in sight, and the early introduction to the scientist involved on the experiment – Clive – plays a vital role in the later development of the tale as a whole.  Indeed, Niles purposefully creates three separate stories, which each independently tell their own tale, but later the surviving characters from each one will come together for the final chapter which will draw the whole graphic novel to a characteristically down-beaten and depressing conclusion.

In each of the four chapters, the flow of the story is tight and maintains a constantly eager pace – often building up towards the dramatic action that will conclude that particular ‘Stage’.  The artwork for each of the sections all sits perfectly with each other, displaying brief moments of explosive violence and bloodshed in amongst the spiralling madness of the devastating epidemic.

Okay, so the graphic novel doesn’t actually add all that much more to the whole
28 Days Later’ (2002) / 28 Weeks Later’ (2007) storyline; but the interwoven stories do create an entertaining and enjoyable branch-off from these initial films – which is no doubt enough to ensnare most hardcore fans of the films or indeed any other such post-apocalyptic fiction enthusiasts.

The graphic novel concludes with Steve Niles’ screenplay of ‘Stage 3: Decimation’ which details (in text) what Niles planned for each scene of this particular section, with the speech and a description of the artwork required in each frame, all skilfully detailed for the artists to work their magic from.  It’s an interesting final addition to the book, which shows exactly how much of the final version is in fact down to the original writer’s vision.

The graphic novel runs for a total of 106 pages.


© DLS Reviews

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