Despite its title, The Zombie Hunters isn't really about a group of anti-zombie headbashers. Rather, it's about a post-apocalyptic salvage team living with the stigma of being infected with the zombie virus.
You know how this goes. A mysterious infection has ravaged the human population, turning most people into shambling, gnawing corpses. The survivors of the zombie plague band together on an island and try to live out some semblance of their former lives. We've got the omnipresent military – here, equipped with extra-creepy gas masks – and the research scientists looking for a cure.
But we've also got something else, something that makes The Zombie Hunters a truly interesting take on the zombie apocalypse. While the last bits of humanity have gathered on the Argus Research Campus, a former scientific research facility conveniently (and a tad suspiciously) located on an artificial island, they've been separated into two castes: the infected and the uninfected.
You see, not everyone infected with the zombie virus is a zombie. Some folks – especially those who survived for several months in the Wastelands before being brought to A.R.C. Island – carry a dormant strain of the virus. If an infected person dies, they go zombie. And if an uninfected person comes into contact with an infected person's blood or saliva (or doesn't use a condom), they can contract the virus, too.
While most of A.R.C. Island's inhabitants enjoy the relative luxury of life in the civilian village, the infected minority is relegated to the barracks. Their movements on the island are restricted, and they are forced to wear special armbands denoting their infected status. What few privileges they have are often at the whim of the Red Halos (A.R.C.'s military), leaving the infected vulnerable to exploitation.
Some escape the drudgery of daily infected life by signing on to become zombie hunters. The name is a bit of a misnomer, something to puff up the so-called zombie hunters in the eyes of the public. They're actually salvage teams sent into the Wastelands to recover food, clothing, and other resource that keep the island humming. Zombie killing happens, but it's less about hunting than not dying.
The Zombie Hunters follows one such salvage team. Most of the team members are practically children, but their time in the Wastelands have left them with both the tools to survive as well as deep emotional scars. They're marked not only by their infected status, but also by their inability to integrate into the island's civilian society. As deadly as life in the Wastelands is, salvaging offers them a sense of purpose. And that's even before we get to Charlie, who's the product of the researchers' efforts to cure zombism.
Like a lot of zombie stories, The Zombie Hunters is at its best when it's not about zombies, but about the way humans respond to the new status quo. Still, there's plenty of zombie gore and mad science to go around.
Jenny Romanchuk started writing The Zombie Hunters as a fun comic for her friends (incidentally, that's why one of the characters is named "Jenny"), but eventually developed it into a full story. The first three chapters of The Zombie Hunters are an extended sequence where a little unauthorized looting has placed our zombie hunters up to their necks in the undead. If you want to jump right into the story, you can start with Chapter Four. Enjoy the filmstrip.