Welcome To The Wasteland
Episode 1 of Daybreak begins in Glendale, California with Principal Burr making high school announcements. Josh Wheeler is our protagonist and he narrates our journey as a nuclear explosion causes the end of the world. Although this happens to be the best thing that happened to him, we learn ghoulies have taken the place of ordinary people. However Sam is having the time of his life despite Baron Triumph being a constant threat, snatching up kids and taking them away.
It turns out the nuclear blast has caused California to be divided up into different regions too with territories fought over and friendship cliques unchanged from school. It appears kids are the only survivors of the wasteland and on his way to finding a new home, he comes across a group in a church. Although he finds himself surrounded, he agrees to tell them his origin story. It’s here where we jump back in time and learn what he’s actually doing out in the wasteland. He’s after Sam, a girl from his class who helped show him around the school during his first days.
Getting nowhere with the Golf Club, he realizes the boys in the church are holding Angelica – a pyromaniac – captive instead. After slicing Terry’s hand, Josh heads outside where he finds himself face to face with a street samurai called Wesley. He happens to have information on where Sam is, in a roundabout way at least, and as the Golf Club head out to find Josh, he goes back to his old apartment with Angelica and Wes.
While Josh reminisces about Sam, he’s snapped back to reality when he learns Turbo is in town. He’s collected up all the jocks that now fly under one banner – his banner – which spells trouble for everyone else in the wasteland.
After some deliberation, Josh accepts help from the others and together they fight off Turbo from the window. However, it also attracts Ghoulies too who kill Terence and leave the rest of the group – jocks and Golf Club Geeks – scrambling to safety. Wes, Josh and Angelica reconvene at the mall but unfortunately a rogue ghoulie approaches Wes and Angelica, leading the latter to hold them off with her flamethrower while Wes tries to break open the locks on the front of the mall. However, Josh saves the day but not before Baron Triumph arrives and shows himself to the boys.
With a lot of exposition packed into this 45 minute episode, Daybreak combines a smattering of fourth wall breaks and narration with some unique handwriting that helps this show stand out from others in the genre. The early intrigue with the different groups and territories is a nice touch too and although some of the faction work is a little cliched, it’s still early days for this zombie romp. As a scene-setter, Daybreak does a decent job setting the tone and mood to follow but how many people actually take to this style remains to be seen.