Professor Zoe Wallace is a rising star in the science community. Her work classifying and identifying retroviruses puts her among the best in her field. When given the opportunity to work at a state of the art laboratory in Antarctica, her initial doubts take a back seat to her curiosity. Unfortunately, she should have listened to her gut. Within moments of arriving on site, she is shown the lab’s top secret project – a frozen Neanderthal, a caveman of warrior-like proportions. Awe quickly turns to horror as she discovers that a deadly virus has been awakened in their icy test subject, and has infected all of the researchers. In order to isolate (and potentially cure) the virus, the scientists filled in a few DNA gaps so that they could clone some additional cavemen. Needless to say, events don’t proceed as planned. Zoe even quips, “I guess you a**holes never saw Jurassic Park?”
Retrovirus was a quick and enjoyable read. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray (the team behind the New 52 All Star Western title) have plenty of experience crafting stories for strong female characters. (Read Power Girl, Ame-Comi Girls, and The Pro if you need further proof.) Zoe quickly establishes that she is more than eye candy. She shows emotion and vulnerability, but never lets either be mistaken for weakness. The interior art by Norberto Fernandez exhibits his attention to detail. From Zoe’s feminine curves, to savage and bloody Neanderthal battles, to small Easter eggs such as a t-shirt featuring The Pro – the visuals for the story are just as tantalizing as the dialogue. And as an added bonus, the cover art is by one of the leading ladies of the industry – Amanda Conner. If I had a single complaint, it would be that the climax of the story dissipated in what felt like only a few panels. (I actually went back to make sure the pages hadn’t stuck together.) However, the “One Year Later” epilogue tied up the story nicely, eliminating any lingering questions.
Story: 9 (out of 10)
Art: 9 (out of 10)
Mel Lang is the store manager for Prairie Dog Comics in Wichita, KS. She lives there (in Wichita, not at the comic book store) with her husband, Matt, and their four-legged kid, a black lab named Phog. In her spare time, she enjoys comic cons and running her store’s fantasy Walking Dead league. Mel is stoked to be a part of the StashMyComics community – it gives her an excuse to catch up on her reading!