In Review: Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies, Volume 1 “Hell Week”

I thought this was a fun read for fans of the genre. You know what you're getting in for by the title.

The cover: The Chaos Trio confronts some nasty undead. Going from right to left, Paige has the glowing fists, looking as if she’s about to cast some type of spell (though that doesn’t happen in this collection), Brittany looks scared to death, thought she’s pretty tough in the stories, and Jamie is in pigtails, sporting a massive plumber’s wrench, beckoning the monsters to come closer and sleep forever. This is a decent cover by Mike Lilly; the girls are the focus, as they should be, and the creatures are just creeping in from beyond the border of the page. The coloring is good, but it’s really dark, with reds being dominant. Switching up the background to a light green or yellow would have maintained the supernatural element and brightened things up a bit. Overall grade: B-

The story: “Hell Week” collects issues 1 through 4 of the series Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies. All four chapters are written by their creator B. Alex Thompson, with Post-Scripting & Polish by John P. Ward. With the title, readers should know exactly what they’re in for, and they’d be right and wrong. This is a series of stories involving three overly developed sorority sisters who, in the middle of a party to end all parties, encounter the undead. They make their way through the city evading the zombies and trying to avoid aroused men. This could be an absolute fiasco of a storyline, as there are numerous movies that follow a plot like this and wind up never seen. Thompson knows this and uses his knowledge of such films to turn this into the ultimate send up of that type of film. Can you think of a double entendre to be used while a girl in a miniskirt is fighting a monster? Yes, it’s here–but it’s better and it’s funnier. The opening pages at the frat house party set the stage perfectly. The first twelve pages introduce the characters and the drama going on in the house as guys are trying to hook up and girls are trying to keep their guys interested in them. The lines uttered by the cool guys are absolute groaners and the comebacks by the girls are winners. Why? They’re the leads! Paige is having the worst night because her boyfriend was seen with another girl. Brittany tries to comfort her friend, leading to an awkward situation. Jamie becomes their friend after the zombies rise, showing she’s ready to take them down before they can get to her. “Dead Man on Campus” is a solid intro and actually surprised me with what happens to Brittany. Just as I though the story was getting too serious, a dance number with new lyrics breaks out. “The Friendly Neighborhood Grab-E-Mart” didn’t work for me. It didn’t have zombies soon enough and the jokes weren’t as natural as the preceding story, that is until “that overcoat guy” and his friend enter and then it picks up. I enjoyed “Gothic Makeover” the best because it made fun of one of the creepiest fast food commercials ever made. Every page of that was a winner. The jokes fly fast and freely and Thompson keeps pumping them out, so if you hit a few groaners, don’t worry. He’s going to hit you with a good one soon enough. Overall grade: A-

The art: This is all over the place. “Dead Man on Campus, Part 1” has cover art (all covers are reprinted) by Alessio Nocerion, with story art by Christian Duce & Martin Coccolo. This art is good. There’s a nice amount of detail, and the opening party is really impressive with all that’s going on. When the zombies make the scene it’s frightening and just gory enough to make them threatening. I liked this work. “Dead Man on Campus, Part 2” has cover art by Otoniel Oliveria with story art by Josh Cruz & Anthony Tan. This artwork is a little cartoony when compared to the first part, but it is just as successful. I preferred the somewhat comedic look of the art because it made the story more fun, which is good because there’s quite a bit of drama going on with Brittany. The dance sequence was really well done. “The Friendly Neighborhood Grab-E-Mart” has Leandro Tonelli & Heiesuke Oda doing the cover art and Tonelli, Emerson Lopes, Cary Lee Baker, & Schimerys Baal doing the interior art. This is not great art. It’s very obvious when a new artist takes over the illustration duties. Some of it looks fine, but most does not. It falls when compared to the other three stories in the collection. “Gothic Makeover” has cover art by Quinton Bedwell and Michele Buscalferri, Robert Reichert, & Blake Wilkie doing the story art. This was my favorite visuals of the entire collection. The style is the most cartoonish, yet the one with the most style. This story has a very consistent look considering it has three artists on it. The look reminded me of Vaughn and Mark Bode. It’s so clean and crisp and fun. With exception to the third story, this is a nice sampler of several different artists’ take on the girls fighting zombies. Overall grade: B

The letters: B. Alex Thompson also does the lettering on this collection. He provides dialogue and sounds and all are easy to read. It’s only when the coloring of the sounds is too similar to the background do they disappear momentarily. Overall grade: B+

The final line: You know what you’re getting in for by the title. There’s no nudity, but several suggestive angles highlighting attributes of the heroines. There’s some mild zombie violence, but nothing explicit. I thought this was a fun read for fans of the genre and I hope Thompson and Approbation Comics last a long time. Where was this book when I was in high school? Overall grade: B+ 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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