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Chris Roberson and Andrea Mutti raise the dead in new 2000 AD miniseries, Last Rites

By Jeff Spry
Rites Hero

Ringing in the new year by lifting spirits of the putrefying kind, Chris Roberson, the co-creator behind Vertigo's iZombie, is teaming up with celebrated Italian illustrator Andrea Mutti (Infinite Dark, Batman Eternal) to deliver a frightening alt-history miniseries for 2000 AD titled Last Rites — and SYFY WIRE has an exclusive preview of the premiere issue to pop the cork on.

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New York Times bestselling author Chris Roberson returns to the gory genre that helped define his successful career with a brain-munching five-issue series debuting on Jan. 15.

This nerve-jarring new title ties into the upcoming release of the fourth chapter in Rebellion’s extremely popular video game series, Zombie Army, which first launched back in 2013 as a Sniper Elite spinoff and packaged in remastered form in 2015 with Zombie Army Trilogy.

Zombie Army is a radical, third-person tactical shooter stealth video game developed and published by Oxford-based Rebellion Developments for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The initial installment of Rebellion/2000 AD's tie-in crossover first invades Judge Dredd Megazine #416 on Jan. 15, just in front of the release of the Zombie Army 4: Dead War game. It tells the shocking story of a squad of deadhunters commanded by the notorious Efram Schweiger, and includes numerous characters from the hit series of Zombie Army games.

Roberson and Mutti's harrowing five-part tale introduces readers to Schweiger and his fearless crew of Marie Chevalier (Zombie Army Trilogy) and engineer Shola (Zombie Army 4), alongside new characters Sikh Regiment Major Haripal Singh and former SOE operative Reginald Patterson.

With World War II over and Hitler dead, the Dead War is just beginning. As the team trudges through Southern France, mopping up what they believe is the last of the living corpses, they encounter a village where a fresh zombie threat is emerging and the unit must fight for its life before the horror strikes them.

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Last Rites will appear alongside Zombie Army: Fortress of the Dead, Roberson's new action-adventure novel existing within the world of Zombie Army. Rebellion Publishing's Fortress of the Dead launches in conjunction with Zombie Army 4: Dead War on Feb. 4.

"One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about the Zombie Army games has been the historical setting," Roberson tells SYFY WIRE. "Taking place in Europe in what would have been the last days of World War II, with characters that are a mix of military and civilians but all of whom have already endured years of warfare, gives the games a richness and a texture that I don’t think they would have if it were set in the modern day."

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"So with Last Rites our goal was to approach it as being as much a war story as a horror story, while also exploring the lore of that world in such a way that ideally it would appeal equally to gamers who are longtime fans of the games and to readers who might be learning about Zombie Army for the first time."

Shuffle into our exclusive preview in the gallery below, with its skull-crushing visuals best viewed before lunch, then alert us as to whether you'll join the deadhunters when Last Rites #1 lands Jan. 15.