Episode 655: Reading the Signs

Photo of author



Zombie Cliche Lookout: One at a Time

When it comes to zombies, everyone knows that they’re not terribly threatening on their own. Well, the slow ones anyway. The quick ones are a lot more challenging, even by themselves. But I digress; everyone knows that the best way to fight zombies is to do it one at a time. Of course, that’s often not possible, but we’re talking about best case scenarios here, so bear with me.

When there are multiple zombies, the smart survivor finds every advantage. He/she separates single zombies from the group, and dispatches them when they’re less threatening. Or they try to, anyway. In stories like this, the plan usually starts off going really well, and then something goes wrong. And then something else. Soon, there’s a cascade of disaster, and all that’s left to do is to try to weather the storm.

About this Episode:

Yeah, I know I’ve started two episodes in a row with a double-width first panel. Don’t worry, this is the last time for a while. I wanted to create a bit of a juxtaposition between the last episode and this one, with Sam stepping into the foreground and disrupting the zombie’s full control of the area. I dunno. Sometimes I like to do stuff like this.

Discussion Question: Zombie Combat Strategies

Building on the above, what should Sam’s next move be? He’s destroyed one of the zombies, but there are still two left. Both have noticed him, and they’re right next to each other. Oh, and only a few steps away from him. And let’s not forget that this is a zombie story, so we never can tell when there might be several more zombies, just out of the frame, ready to shamble in and make a bad situation worse.

19 thoughts on “Episode 655: Reading the Signs”

  1. Actually I like different sizing for panels in a comic. Great use here.

    Badass as Sam became, I think a single axe hit should cut both zombies head!
    I would try something new here, use the body of the dead zombie and throw it on one of the walking ones. Then take care of last standing zombie before finishing the one on the floor.
    I also like the fact that keeping them “alive” can offer some kind of a protection if any other survivor would want to enter the building. But as we don’t know if the door is locked, this might not be very smart…

    • I don’t know that it would be at all smart to pick up an infected zombie corpse. Dave hasn’t told us explicitly that doing so is not going to put a character at risk of infection. I think Brent might have been assigned some such duty but it’s been a while so I can’t really be sure.

      • You would definitely have to be sure the zombie was thoroughly dead, and that you don’t have any exposed open wounds for the zombie to leak into. It would surely be a calculated risk.

    • It would be super cool to sneak past the zeds and keep the outside to block anyone else from getting in. I love the idea.

  2. Building on the question of more zombies: Is there ever really a time when there would be no more zombies expected? A dead-end alley with no exits or hidey holes for zombies to shamble out of, maybe? Are there any other similar kinds of places one might reasonably not expect more zombies to pop up? Maybe that’s a discussion question in it’s own right, Dave could try it I guess! 😀

    • From a storytelling perspective, I’d have to say no. Once you completely eliminate the possibility of more zeds showing up, it changes the dynamics of the story.

      In reality? Yeah, maybe. Especially in areas with low population density.

  3. I think Sam–being faster–should move to one side so the zombies come at him one at a time in a line. He can cleave one, and ready his weapon for the next.

    Shooting always an option, but this is a stealth mission so guns are a bad idea for this minus a silencer.

    • That sounds like a pretty decent strategy.

      In addition to the stealth aspects of shooting, Sam also has to realize he has a finite ammo supply.

  4. I see one thing Sam’s definitely picked up on is using the back of his weapon instead of the blade of it to make it easier to remove it from the heads of the zombies! Given that he’s probably got at least adequate reflexes, two more zombies shouldn’t be much of a problem. 😀

    • I was hoping someone would notice that!

      • Ah, I thought it had been done so it’s be easier to have the axe on the figure’s head–not for easier removal. I had dismissed it for camera angle needs and not a strategy. Good on you both for thinking about that.

  5. The one in the blue hat looks slightly ahead. So Sam should move back and to the left. That will force the other one behind and he can deal with them one at a time.

    Naturally, the left is where the herd is waiting just off-screen. :/

    • Naturally 🙂

      • You know, if hunger did factor into whether a zombie would bite or eat someone, then that could make for rather interesting zombie interactions. 😀 If zombies have just eaten they’re satiatied, I can’t imagine a zombie stuffing itself full of food constantly, because they’d just turn into a head on a big ball of expanded flesh containing all of the food they’d ingested, and wouldn’t be able to move anywhere, otherwise.

        It’s therefore realistic that some zombies might pause for a short while whilst emptying their food reserves through some biological function linked to being a zombie. Obviously, this doesn’t make for a good zombie story. 😀

  6. Apologies for the lack of comments yesterday; I had no internet access. Playing catch up today.

  7. I agree with Wacky. Seems only logical that some zeds will shamble faster then others. Fall back a bit and see if this spreads them out. then take them one at a time. That got me thinking, it might be a really good idea to have some kind of weapon at hand just to slow down or trip zombies in a situation like this. Either to dispatch them more easily when they are down or to slow them down and spread them out. I know it sounds cartoony, but would throwing a handful or marbles or ball bearings on the ground in front of a zed trip them up?

    • A good reach weapon can do wonders for what you’ve recommended. If Sam had a staff or some other sort of polearm, knocking down a zed by hitting its knee would be brilliant. It’d stumble and the others would have to move around it buying him time. I don’t think it’d be as easy to do with the reach of an ax, but at the same time not impossible.

  8. Since the background of the doors is blurred I’m not 100% convinced about what I see, but since it’s a guess: there are 3 figures in the doors, 1 looks like a clown, 1 looks like he is wearing the baseball cap, and the 3rd is a skeleton behind the cap.

    Has for weapons, I have never seen in any horror genre a zombie step over anything, just leap, walk, shamble, grapple, or fall…therefore use the “dispatched” zed to trip both walkers is a reasonable weapon and will allow time to resolve issues from there.

  9. He forgot his bubble gum