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Web Animation / Xombie

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Xombie is a Flash animation and comic book series by James Farr. A 6-year-old girl, Zoe, wakes up on a beach with no memory of how she got there. When she wanders into a cemetery, she discovers why the place is so deserted. Zombies begin rising up from the ground, and gather around her. As the zombies close in, a lone figure enters the scene, and proceeds to summarily OWN the gathering zombies...with a shovel. This lone figure is Dirge, a "variant", a zombie that retains cognitive functions, but no memory of who or what he once was. He decides to escort Zoe through miles of zombie-infested wasteland, accompanied by a zombie police-dog called Cerberus, to a nearby human settlement.

Along the way to the Acropolis, Zoe and Dirge gain new allies: Nephthys, another variant, dressed like a mummy and wielding a scythe with ninja-like ability, and Chimaera, a zombie Velociraptor from the Natural History Museum. They also learn more about the origin of the variants, and meet new enemies, the "Hands of God", Cthulhoid cyborgs/aliens that know a lot about Dirge.

The comic book continues the story, picking up 9 years after the events from the original animations. Disaster has struck the human settlement, and Dirge is the only one who can help. We gain a glimpse of the human settlement's culture, a rigid theocracy, ruled over by a half-mad, babbling priest named Ammon. We find out /much/ more about the zombies and the aliens here, as well as hints about Dirge's former past. He is likely Zoe's father.

In September of 2009, DreamWorks SKG tried to pursue the rights to a live-action movie, but sadly it never came to fruition due to a Troubled Production, which included a WGA strike. However, in the 20th of Febuary of 2017, Farr announced a sequel to the Xombie series called Xombie: Dead Ahead, which apparently will focus on a grown-up Zoe 10 years after the events of the series (and also 10 years after the final chapter). With it, a website for the new series and its merchandise also came.

The videos are available on YouTube in a special watchlist courtesy of the channel epicleveltv, whereas Dead Ahead can be seen either on the new website or in Farr's YouTube channel. See below for a numbered list:

  1. Chapter 1: The Dead Sea
  2. Chapter 2: Cadillacs & Cadavers
  3. Chapter 3: Grinding Organs
  4. Chapter 4: Relics & Reptiles
  5. Chapter 5: The Exhibit
  6. Chapter 6: The Hands of God
  7. Chapter 7: Thunder & Light
  8. Chapter 8: Death Under Wraps
  9. Chapter 9: Falling Forever
  10. Chapter 10: Hallowed Grounds

Xombie:Dead Ahead

  1. Xombie: Dead Ahead Chapter 1
  2. Xombie: Dead Ahead Chapter 2
  3. Xombie: Dead Ahead Chapter 3

This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Nephthys, full on. Also, Zoe, especially in Dead Ahead.
  • Affably Evil: Mr. Gallows (arguably Faux Affably Evil).
  • Alien Invasion: It's hinted that the zombie virus, Nekrosis, was created as a weapon by the Xar-Ggothua, probably for the purpose of taking over the world. However, Word of God states that they aren't aliens in the traditional extra-terrestrial sense. It is directly stated in the comic that Nekrosis isn't actually a virus but part of a hive mind race of pathogens. The Xar-Ggothua themselves are one of a few evolved, super-intelligent versions of Nekrosis, and even they have their own master in the Xin-Jithoth.
  • Artificial Limbs: In Chapter 10 Dirge lost his left arm and had it replaced with one of the Hands of God's arms.
    • Between Dead on Arrival and Dead Ahead, Dirge has had to patch Cerberus up with a mix of denim, medical gauze, parts of other zombie dogs, and a kevlar K-9 unit harness.
    • After Chimaera's defeat in Dead on Arrival, Nephthys takes the time to reinforce her skeleton with the clockwork components of an animatronic raptor.
  • All There in the Manual: The race name for the "Hands of God", the Xar-Ggothua, is only mentioned in the credits.
  • Art Evolution: Cerberus's design and animations in the first few episodes of Dead on Arrival were copied from Steele. Episode 4 of Dead on Arrival has Cerberus getting his face torn off by Chimaera and then Zoe awkwardly stapling it back on in the next episode, with James Farr admitting that this was done to make him look less like Steele going forward.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Too much to list.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Dinosaurs were not found in the Ice Age, nor were they found frozen in mud to such a great point of preservation.
  • Attractive Zombie: Nephthys. Lampshaded by Zoe when she asks Dirge why she still looks beautiful whereas he looks like a rotting corpse.
    Zoe:So...if she's a zombie, too...why does she look know? And you look so, well...
    Nephthys: Men always let themselves go, sweetheart. Even the dead ones.
  • Beary Friendly: Wolfgang, a pink teddy bear equipped with speech and rudimentary AI, is introduced in Dead Ahead. According to Zoe, his model can access wireless networks to receive new information and updates, and he always has a sunny disposition regardless of what's going on, leading to some accidental Casual Danger Dialogue since the whole end of civilization occuring.
  • Berserk Button: Dirge (Zoe), and Zoe (Dirge).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Zoe (several times). First, she takes Dirge's shovel and re-kills a strong-man zombie from the Circus of Fear by cutting the wires holding up a sky-ride car. Next, she severely injures an alien monster with an exploding teddy bear. Finally, in the comic, she fakes out Mr. Gallows and then shoots him. You do not mess with this girl.
  • Blasphemous Praise: Zoe's mother gives one for Nephthys after Father Ammon objects to the idea of a Variant being anything less than a very deceptive zombie.
    Ammon: God will have no hand in this sacrilege. Make no mistake.
    Ms. Elgin: I wholeheartedly agree. And I am tired of waiting for God.
  • Body Horror: Typical corpse decay aside, Dead Ahead introduces zombies infected with what appears to be one of the more sentient forms of Nekrosis, with symptoms such as black veins, plague-like growths replacing lost tissue, and blue crystals coming out of said growths.
  • Bulletproof Vest: A modified variant appears in the comic (Dirge installs a "titanium disulfide" skull plate, rendering him impervious to headshots, as Mr. Gallows demonstrates in the laboratory.
    Dirge:: What's the matter, lose something important?
    • He also wears a big metal collar, eliminating the advantage of cutting off his head.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Dirge losing his arm and replacing it with a Hands of God arm in the final episode and subsequent epilogue of the animated series are ignored for the comics and Dead Ahead.
  • Children Are Innocent: It started out, but soon averted with Zoe.
  • Church Militant: Father Ammon is head of the religious in the human settlement, and is your standard, run-of-the-mill traditionalist fanatic that views all zombies as EVIL EVIL EVIL!
  • Circus of Fear: In Chapter 3, Zoe & Dirge end up in a zombified circus.
  • Daddy's Girl: Zoe and Dirge, to some extent (more so in the comic), although Dirge is more of a "surrogate father" (at least, that's what they want you to think).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost everyone gets at least one moment, even 6-year-old Zoe.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: Subverted. In Chapter 8 of the original animations, the last we see of Cerberus is him being de-limbed by several alien shurikens. But he's back to normal at the end of Chapter 10.
  • Deliberate VHS Quality: Dead Ahead uses video effects in its intros and credits that mimic video cassette imagery from The '80s, including electric snow, tracking errors, and the ubiquitous "PLAY" and VCR timestamps in the upper corners and the SLP recording format towards the bottom.
  • Disappeared Dad: At the beginning of the comic, we discover that Zoe's dad, Dr. Elgin has been dead for an as-yet unstated length of time. However, the ending implies that, while dead, Elgin hasn't really disappeared from Zoe's life.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference:
    • In Chapters 1-3, Zoe didn't have pigtails. She was given pigtails in Chapter 4 because some viewers mistook her for a boy.
    • In Chapters 2-3, Cerberus's design and animations were copied from Steele. Chapters 4 and 5 see Cerberus go through a character design update with an In-Universe justification: Cerberus gets his face torn off in a fight with Chimera, only to then have it crudely stapled back on.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Dirge's weapon was originally a helicopter blade in the first chapter. It wasn't until the second episode that he started wielding a shovel.
  • Faking the Dead: Zoe plays dead when Mr. Gallows shoots her, thus triggering Dirge's Berserk Button. She then grabs the anti-zombie gun from the floor, throws Gallows' words right back at him, and shoots him.
    • She earlier actually jokes with this trope. Where after a car crash, Dirge asks if she is alright. Her immediate reply is "Arrg... Brains"
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Xin-Jithoth, the creators of Nekrosis and by extension, evolutions such as the Xar-Ggothua and Xth-Nthogg, are responsible for the Zombie Apocalypse on Earth. However, while their creations have proven to be a major threat to humanity, the Xin-Jithoth have yet to take an active role in the story.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of Dead on Arrival, Dirge deliberately sets off the Acropolis's automated defense systems to have them kill the remaining Xar-Ggothua soldier before being gunned down himself. Thankfully, Dirge is able to put himself back together afterward, but he doesn't see Zoe again for years.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Xar-Ggothua aren't typical extra-terrestrials. They are a sapient, evolved humanoid form of the Nekrosis virus. And the Xar-Ggothua is just one of several forms the virus can evolve into, such as the Xth-Nthogg, and even they have a master.
  • I Hate Past Me: Implied. At the end of the comic, Dirge denies remembering anything about his past life and states that he's glad he doesn't, because he's worried he was a terrible person back then. Earlier, he came across a computer recording of a conversation between an unknown person and Dr. Elgin, who studied and experimented with Nekrosis. Elgin's name tag reads "Dr. G. E.", which could almost be read as "Dirge" without any context.
  • Male Gaze: Dead Ahead seems to showcase a lot of Zoe's ass.
  • Meaningful Name: All of the main characters have them. "Zoe" is Greek for "life", which is fitting considering she is the only one alive out of the main characters. A "dirge" is, as Nephthys comments upon, a "mournful lyric"... Speaking of which, "Nephthys" is the Egyptian Goddess of death, funeral services and lamentation. And Cerberus is, of course, the guardian dog of the realm of the dead in Greek and Roman mythology.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Nephthys has a lot of this. Also, grown Zoe.
  • Necessarily Evil: Mr. Gallows. He doesn't have any grudge against humans, he just doesn't want them to cure zombification, because he wants to keep living.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The entire series is called "Xombie" after all. Ironically however, in the series they are never referred to as Xombies, just Talkers and Variants. This is mostly because it's pronounced exactly the same and thus you'd have to waste time clarifying anyway.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Variants like Dirge, Nephthys and Gallows are far more sapient and agile than the more feral zombies.
  • Outlaw: Mr. Gallows from the comic (also has elements of The Rustler).
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Dirge and Zoe spend most of the animated series fighting other zombies, but near the halfway point go up against aliens, who are more than a match for Dirge.
  • Papa Wolf: Dirge is protective of Zoe to a fault. The comic implies that he is actually Dr. Elgin, Zoe's father. Even though he doesn't remember his past life (and after coming across the recording that reveals that Elgin studied and experimented with Nekrosis, hates the parts he knows about), his paternal instincts apparently remained intact.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Zoe, to some extent.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Zoe in the comic, when she destroys an alien bloodhound with her blood, shouting "LEAVE! US! ALONE!"
  • Raising the Steaks: This series gives us zombified versions of a dog, a dinosaur, a tiger, and even some glimpses of zombie sharks and octopus.
  • Seductive Mummy: Nephthys, who is the show's resident Mrs. Fanservice. However, she points out that she is technically not a mummy. If she were a mummy, she would have had all of her organs including her brain removed, and thus unable to reanimate in the first place.
  • Shout-Out: If you look in the endless hoard of zombies, you can see Waldo.
  • Shovel Strike: Dirge uses a shovel as a weapon, and is more awesome with it than many other characters would be with any conventional weapon.
  • Tomboy: Zoe, as a teen.
  • The Unreveal: The Xar-Ggothua seem to know Dirge's identity from when he was alive. As they prepare to gun him down when they first meet (at least as far as Dirge remembers), they almost address him by his original name before Chimaera attacks them.
  • The Virus: The Nekrosis Virus is responsible for the Zombie Apocalypse. However, the comic reveals it's not really a virus, but a sentient, alien parasite.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In Episode 2 of Dead Ahead, Zoe runs into a zombie oozing with a familiar black gunk with light blue crystals (a coloration similar to the evolved, sentient forms of Nekrosis), which promptly regenerates its torn off limbs.
    • The end of Dead Ahead: Episode 3, reveals that Gallows is back, having survived the events of the comic.
  • What Have I Become?: Dirge, and later Zoe (partially)
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The series takes place during one.