Review by Frank Plowright
Aurelian Zahner thought his day was bad day when his wife left. That was before he was killed and transformed into a form of demon, as seen in Gretchen. He might not see it that way, but the conversion is viewed as a favour by the owner of Zombillenium, a theme park where the denizens of the night hide in plain sight. His fellow mystical creatures, however, don’t welcome Aurelian, except for the resident witch Gretchen, after whom volume one was titled. When the boss is on your side, however, that doesn’t matter.
Aurelian takes a back seat until the final stages, having settled in, and Human Resources focusses more on the problems besetting Zombillenium’s owner. These include, but are not limited to, the locals becoming edgy about the zombies on public transportation, too many wannabe teenage vampires, and the slightly bigger problem of a half-demon boy visiting the park who must under no circumstances meet his twin. This twin, Asmodeus, is somewhat the problem teenager himself, and of course, confusion between twins and mistaken identity is a comedy staple. The human resources aspect of the title comes into play when a meeting designed to instil a love for the company coupled with coming to terms with life after death is infiltrated with disturbing consequences.
As previously Arthur de Pins uses an exceptionally polished 3-D animation style to characterise a varied cast, and steps a bit further into the workings of the theme park with an excellently designed boiler room. This has a part to play late in the book when de Pins shifts from his strict four tiers of panels per page to convincingly convey the speed of a plummeting lift.
Given some of the themes in play, those that want to can see Human Resources as satirising the far right’s attitudes to immigrant communities. Otherwise Zombillenium is an entertainingly clever toying with the ridiculous nature of classical monsters. De Pins keeps the horrific aspects off panel, sometimes using them for a reaction shot effect instead, which keeps the series at slightly above all-ages level. The spoof is in the great tradition of European comedy series, given a thoroughly modern twist. Volume three is Control Freaks