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Daybreak, Vol. 3
posted December 8, 2008
 

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Creator: Brian Ralph
Publishing Information: Softcover, Bodega Distribution, 52 pages, 2008, $10
Ordering Numbers: 0977767965 (ISBN10), DEC081320 (Diamond)

imageThere's a great page near the end of Brian Ralph's zombie adventure story where we, as the point of view character, finally lose our connection with the one-armed protector through whom we've experienced the worst of the last few days. It's simple and devastating, as Ralph deftly employs a slight shift in mood and our inability to see the person's face to indicate we are now alone. Originally serialized on-line, Ralph's comic strikes me as both a fairly straght-forward actioner and a commentary on the way video games have drastically altered the way we explore environments now. The environment is horrifying, so we spend most of our time fixated on the other human in nearest proximity. In this issue the point of view character even gets to fire a gun, to less than satisfactory effect. There's one fight on-panel and one fight off, and the story concludes on a peculiar vision that feels hopeful without being obvious: describing the story's end doesn't have the same effect as seeing it. Ralph's first major graphic novel was in some ways about grappling with physical constraints in vision and movement in order to reach grander and more spiritually satisfying payoffs; this latest work seems more about voluntarily limited our vision just so we can cope.