28th Mar2013

‘Stitched: Volume One’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Story by Garth Ennis | Script & Art by Mike Wolfer | Published by Avatar Press | Distributed by Titan Books | Format: Paperback, 176pp

Garth Ennis, creator of one of my favourite comics of all time, The Boys, and the gloriously OTT ultra-violent horror comic Crossed, is back once again with another slice of horror fiction with Stitched.

Based on a story (and the original short film) by Ennis and scripted/illustrated by Mike Wolfer, whose work at Avatar has included the Night of the Living Dead and Escape of the Living Dead comics (both of which were pretty awesome – filled by blood, boobs and gore), Stitched is the story of a group of American and British soldiers trapped behind enemy lines in the Taliban controlled mountains of Afghanistan. With no food, water or supplies, the group discover that there’s much more to worry about than insurgents, as an ancient evil brings the shambling dead to life.

I’m always excited to read a new Garth Ennis book, especially after the superb Crossed, which pushed the boundaries of comics, with sex, ultra-violence and some of the goriest kills ever set to page. So when the chance to review Stitched came up, there was no way I was ever going to say no. And boy am I glad I didn’t. Once again Ennis, this time ably assisted by Mike Wolfer whose work on Avatar’s …Living Dead comics has been just as groundbreaking, crafts yet another real-world tale whose story is touched by the supernatural – in this case by a group of zombies who look like they’ve walked straight out of one of Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead movies!

If you’re a fan of over the top gore, zombies and damn good action-adventure tales then Stitched will be right up your street. There are bodies torn limb from limb, beheadings, disembowellings, evisceration’s and much more, all sited in a great modern-war tale which never feels “other-wordly” even though it’s filled with the undead. And despite featuring a great central cast of soldiers, it’s the intriguing undead which provide the most interest as they shamble blindly (literally, their eyes and mouths are stitched up – hence the books title), following the “tnk, tnk, tnk” of the pebble-filled cans around their necks.

Not quite as OTT as Ennis’ Crossed, this is, for want of a better analogy, like a cross between The Walking Dead and Black Hawk Down. Yet Stitched remains another near-perfect horror book from Avatar Press, one whose script, by Mike Wolfer is as superb as his artwork; and is a credit to Garth Ennis’s original tale.

Stitched: Volume One is, in my opinion, an essential purchase.