This is the story of Jeff, a visitor to Barcelona Spain. Furthering my idea that there are endless stories to be told in Robert Kirkman’s universe, Brian K. Vaughan takes on a one shot about the story of a tourist named Jeff and how he fared in the zombie apocalypse. Jeff is not the solid and heroic kind of man, and unlike his family, Jeff is one with a Peter Pan complex seeking a future of his own. Though many have theorized that the zombie apocalypse was unleashed in the US, Vaughan explores how it ravaged Europe just like it did in the South.
With the city now completely under the rule of the dead, we meet Jeff who is hiding out of sight and reach, and tries in vain to be a hero. After barely surviving the wrath of the walking dead, he is saved by a beautiful young girl named Claudia. She is a heroic and bold art curator who has used medieval weaponry to survive and plans to escape the city alongside Jeff who can help her enter the States. Vaughan, to his credit, tries to explore a lot of themes in a comic that would have been set during 2003 when the outbreak occurred. In the opening pages we watch a poor African boy be left to be eaten by the wolves since, as Claudia explains, the locals have blamed immigrants for the infection, and the only way Claudia can get in to the states is through Jeff.
Though it’s only thirty pages, Vaughan does a fine job of unfolding some fine terror, and interesting turn of events. SPOILERS: The ultimate reveal and “secret” is that Jeff is Rick Grimes’ brother Jeffrey, a young man who doesn’t quite fare as well as Rick did. That last part shouldn’t be considered a massive spoiler since “Alien” is solely a one shot for Vaughan to tackle a story he always thought needed to be explored, if briefly. And I’m glad he did. I just wish we had ten more pages to visit with Jeff Grimes, and explore the finer details of how he differs from his Rick and his other family back in our current arc.
It’s still a tragic and fascinating horror tale with solid art by Marcos Martin that ends on a pretty interesting scene. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Claudia were to make it to Atlanta to meet Rick Grimes and ultimately inform of Jeff’s fate and give him final resolution? True, Rick kind of accepts Jeff is dead way early in the series’ run, but if anything, it wouldn’t hurt to see more of Claudia kicking some undead ass or leading her own team of survivors. There are a lot of layers to “The Walking Dead” and I think this is an entertaining one shot that closes up the gaps in the mythos, however small.