Joe Zombie is an Internet Flash cartoon series created and animated by Rob DenBleyker, co-creator of the
Cyanide and Happiness[http://explosm.net] webcomic.
The very first Joe Zombie cartoon was released
January 19 2001on the now defunct website Sticksuicide. [http://sticksuicide.com] The series followed the exploits of a reanimated and highly athletic zombie that slaughtered its way through StickVille ("The City of Life"). The series utilized the " stick figure" form of animation most commonly associated with beginners to the art style. The original episodes were mostly regarded as unremarkable for their time. After the release of the third instalment in late April of the same year, Rob sought to give the series a revamp.
October 16, the first episode of the new series was released and was well received within the Internet Flash artist community. The graphics and audio were a big improvement over the relatively silent and visually bland original series. Rob has also been praised for his application of cinematicand film techniques in order to create the illusion that events unfolding were actually being viewed from a movable camera (something very rare for flash animations during the time period.) Leaps in terms of visuals did not have an effect on the basic character style as they remained as stick figures. Episode three would mark Rob's first use of voice acting in an animation, and he has since made improvements in style with each progressing episode.
The story begins with a group of teenagers outside a
cemetery, putting a nameless person (only known as "Ri," as he only gets to write the first two letters before he gets attacked) through a gang initiation. All the nameless person needs to do is write his name on the tombstoneof the deceased "Joe Rombie". Unfortunately for him, the above ground action proves to be enough to reawaken the cadaver and Joe precedes to kill the unknown person. Two of the gang members escape, leaving the other (named Johnny) to get eaten. Having devoured the brains of his first two victims, Joe displays his inhuman agility by catching up with the car, which in the ensuing panic crashes on the outskirts of the nearby city of Stickville.
The next morning, the police find the car, with its occupants' brains now devoured. As one goes to notify their superiors, the other is attacked and killed by Joe, who was biding his time in the car and climbs a nearby building. The surviving officer notifies the chief of police: Sergeant Baxter, who is horrified by this turn of events, and orders all police units to track him.
Joe is followed to a Marriott in central Stickville. Joe makes light work of the attacking S.W.A.T. team, and hijacks a police car. As he is chased around town, he performs several hit and run murders, before crashing into an inner city mall.
Eventually he is cornered inside the mall by the military officers that plan to use
C4to destroy the building with Joe inside. At this point, Baxter appears and warns the army general (Schell) that Joe cannot be defeated by such conventional methods, and requests permission to face Joe alone. Schell will hear none of it, but their argument is interrupted by a sudden attack from Joe who makes off with an army truck carrying all the C4 and a demolition soldier. In the ensuing chase Joe crashes the truck in front of an officebuilding, and by the time they catch up to the truck, Joe, the C4, and the demolition soldier have already disappeared. Schell orders the office building to be searched by a squad of soldiers who meet their demise when Joe detonates the explosives with the team still inside the building. Schell was apparently the only survivor of the blast.
reinforcementsarrive and Schell is soon face to face with Baxter, who tries once again to reason with him, stating that Joe isn't striking randomly, but rather making his way to "MortoGen Labs," an abandoned research facility which has been in disuse for two decades. Schell, having a wounded ego by the whole affair, dismisses Baxter's theories about Joe and insists that he knows what he's doing. Again, their confrontation is interrupted by a surprise attack from Joe who destroys the nearby army helicopters and the ground reinforcements with grenades. Schell breaks down and hides in the demolitions truck during the barrage, where he is later discovered and killed by Joe. Baxter then deliberately drives away in a Hummerin front of Joe who adopts an annoyed expression after spotting him. After hijacking a surviving helicopter and killing its pilot, Joe follows Baxter to MortoGen. Once inside, Joe is ambushed and trapped by Baxter who reveals their shared history. Joe and Baxter were both engineered supersoldiers, created by MortoGen for an unknown purpose. What is known is that they were trained from a very young age to be very effective combatants, especially against each other. Eventually, Joe proved too powerful and deadly for his own creators to control and he escaped. With no other option, the lab workers released Baxter into the world with the sole mission of hunting down and killing Joe. Baxter, enraged at Joe for the senseless he wrought in Stickville, eventually caught and killed him, leaving him to be buried in the cemetery until his modern day resurrection. Upon returning the Mortogen, he found that the facility had had been shut down by the military, and its researchers arrested, leaving Baxter to the conclusion that his existence was to save the lives Joe sought to destroy. Back in the present, Baxter attempts to finally kill Joe once and for all, but Joe escapes from his cage thanks to a sudden power drain and Baxter's hunt for him is disrupted by a sudden reinvigorated assault by the army. Joe goes to the roof and uses recently acquired MortoGen weapons to shoot down the jets bombing the building, severely damaging the building in the process, and then descends back down into the laboratories.
Outside, an unnamed soldier and the current commander of the
army(Schell's brother) discuss the attack strategy with another military officer, Everet. Officer Schell makes clear his desire for revenge against Baxter, whom he believed led his brother to his death, but Everet makes it equally clear that Baxter is "his" responsibility.
Baxter, meanwhile, in his search for Joe, breaks into a storage area filled with canisters of
Nitroglycerin, before he is alerted by noises coming from behind him, but attacked from behind by Joe. After a short brawl, Baxter is severely wounded, but chases after Joe.
After catching up with Joe, their previous positions are switched as Joe kicks Baxter into another cage. In a sudden moment of realisation, Baxter figures out why Joe returned to MortoGen, speaking of a "room" and of how Joe envisions himself as a "knight in shining armor." In a proceeding flashback, Baxter reveals the existence of another MortoGen creation: Robert Hendrix, who was released with Baxter to kill Joe. Following the closure of MortoGen, the two have been close partners in the police force, and killing Baxter won't resolve anything, as Hendrix is stronger than both of them.
As Joe prepares to kill Baxter, he withdraws for unknown reasons, and escapes through MortoGen's ventilation system. As a military squad storms the building, Schell finds Baxter still trapped in his cage. He seizes the opportunity and shoots Baxter in the torso, seemingly killing him. Everet, alerted by the gunshot, orders the second team to storm Mortogen.
* Joe Rombie/Zombie - The main character of the series. In the beginning he appeared to be nothing more than a mindless undead creature who sought only to kill and destroy. However, it has been slowly hinted that there is a certain reason to his rampage and that he has at least some memory of his previous life. An example of this is his proficiency in the use of army weapons and vehicles. Since it was revealed that he was homicidal even before his death, it is unknown if being killed and revived has affected his mind at all. The fact that he passed up the chance to kill Baxter and returned to MortoGen suggests a lingering emotional attachment to his "siblings."
* Sergeant Baxter - A creation of MortoGen who serves as Joe's foil. While Joe seems to value only carnage and death, Baxter believes in life and peace. He is shot and possibly killed in MortoGen. However, his last statement to Joe foreshadows a similar revival.
* General Schell - Not much is known about him other than the fact that he was a devoted leader and soldier. He didn't believe Baxter to be any more capable of dealing with Joe than he was. He viewed Joe as a mindless killing machine that could only be destroyed with overwhelming brute force. After witnessing Joe destroy several military helicopters, he hid in a truck and was killed (off-screen) by Joe.
* Robert Hendrix - Another genetically engineered child soldier of MortoGen. He was released shortly after Baxter and apparently for the same reason. Baxter claimed that Joe was looking for him, and that Robert would be his downfall as he was stronger than either of them.
* Officer Schell - Introduced in episode six. He is General Schell's brother. He harbors a hatred for Sergeant Baxter which culminated in his murder of Baxter after finding him trapped in a MortoGen holding cell. The fact that he blamed him for his brother's death as opposed to Joe suggests that, like his brother, he views Joe as more of a force of nature than an actual person who can be understood and predicted.
* Officer Everet - He was first seen in Joe Zombie Episode 6 giving Officer Schell orders. He is most likely to be Schell's supervisor. When Baxter is shot, he sends in the second squad. He was thought to be Robert Hendrix by fans, but this was wrong. (See credits of Joe Zombie Ep. 6).
The sixth episode of the series ends with the ominous phrase "To be concluded...." However, that phrase also appeared at the end of episode five, so it is unknown if episode seven will actually be the final instalment in the series. Rob, however, has insisted that it will be the end and claims that the graphics and storyline progression will be something fans will really enjoy. Rob is well known and mocked among his fan base for the lengthy time periods between him finishing his projects. A finalized release date has not yet been announced.
The reason of the long process is because of the Cyanide and Happiness comics that DenBleyker has been working on. Also, he uses Flash 4 instead of the recent versions as well as a motion capturing equipment to draw frame by frame for each stick figure character.
All episodes currently released can be found on Rob's website [http://www.explosm.net/movies/ Explosm] .
* [http://www.newgrounds.com/collection/joezombie.html View the series (at Newgrounds)]
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