The book bridges the gap between the original film and its sequel 28 Weeks Later. It explores four interconnecting stories and delves deeper into the development of the Rage virus, the outbreak and battle for survival that ensued once it was released, and what it finally took to restore order in the ravaged city.
28 Days Later: The Aftermath was the first graphic novel released by Fox Atomic Comics.
The Aftermath is divided into four stories ranging in setting from shortly before the outbreak to several weeks afterwards. The first three stories each follow separate groups or individuals; the fourth story brings the survivors of these stories together for their ultimate fate.
Stage 1: DevelopmentEdit
The first stage begins a little over two weeks before the Original Outbreak in Britain. Two scientists named Clive and Warren watch CCTV footage of several violent crimes committed in London the previous night at a police station. They are attempting to develop an inhibitor which can be used to control aggressive impulses in humans.
The next day, back in Cambridge, Warren reveals to Clive that he has secured a violent criminal as a human test subject. Clive recognizes the criminal from the CCTV footage at the London police station, and tries to warn Warren, but the latter simply mocks Clive on his anger issues, causing him to storm off. That night, Clive is trying to get drunk and drown out his anger when he hears a noise and goes to investigate. He sees the criminal break free and attack Warren, then turn to Clive. However, just before the criminal can attack Clive, Warren recovers and bludgeons the criminal to death with a fire extinguisher. He then decides that they should test on chimpanzees as Clive had been suggesting, and Clive and Warren bury the criminal's body at dawn. Despite his misgivings, Clive is now irrevocably tied to the project.
Warren decides that the only feasible means of delivering the inhibitor widespread is by using a contagion as a delivery system. He genetically modifies the Ebola virus to carry the inhibitor, against Clive's strong objections. Two weeks later, the virus has mutated, reversing the inhibitor's effect - the Rage Virus is born. Frustrated, Warren lashes out at Clive for making a snide comment, and Clive quits on the spot. Later that night, he makes a call from his home to an animal rights organisation called the Animal Freedom Front, and then shoots himself in the head.
Back at the Primate Research Centre, Warren sits at his desk talking on the telephone to a respresentative of the company that hired him and Clive. Warren informs him that the inhibitor has had a reverse effect, and the man enlightens Warren that this could have "other applications" when the telephone suddenly cuts out. Warren at this moment hears a strange noise coming from down the hall and follows it to the closed door to the lab. He approaches the door, and upon opening it to investigate, Warren is abruptly ambushed by an infected ape which bites him, infecting him with Rage.
Stage 2: OutbreakEdit
The second story begins the day after the break-in at the laboratory. A family of five is picnicking at Cherry Hinton Hall park in Cambridge, bickering over trivial things. The youngest son Liam sees a chimpanzee in a tree (one of the infected chimps from the Primate Research Centre), which assaults him and vomits blood in his face. When the family see the infected ape attacking Liam, the father of the family, Roger, beats the animal to death. A team of paramedics happen to be nearby, attending to a bicyclist with a minor injury. They rush to the aid of Liam and load him into their ambulance, instructing the family to follow in their own vehicle as they rush the child to a hospital in London.
The family follow the ambulance in their car, and along the way, they witness scenes of carnage in the streets as the Infection spreads through Cambridge around them. When the driver stops the ambulance, Liam and the newly-infected paramedics break out and assault him. Liam's family drive off, realising that something is terribly wrong.
Days later, the four uninfected family members are hiding out in a barricaded dwelling in London. The news on the radio is dire, announcing that the virus has engulfed the city of London and that a state of emergency has come into effect, but the signal cuts to static. The elder son, Sid, suggests they try to escape to safety on a train from King's Cross Station. The family arrive at King's Cross the next day to find it overrun by the Infected, so Sophie, the family's middle child, suggests that they take a boat down the Thames to safety.
With the Infected hot on their tail, they reach Westminster Bridge, finding the military blockades overrun and Parliament abandoned. Parents Roger and Barbara urge their children to jump down to one of the abandoned, but functional, motorboats floating below in the Thames, promising to follow after. Instead, they remain on the bridge for a last stand, allowing Sid and Sophie to escape upriver undetected.
Stage 3: DecimationEdit
The third story takes place 29 to 32 days after the initial outbreak - roughly the same time as the bulk of 28 Days Later. A lone survivor named Hugh, decked out in a mishmash of protective clothing, has inherited London, and he spends his days hunting the Infected with a machete and an SA80 rifle he looted from a military blockade.
An Infected picks up a smell and follows it through Central London to an alley. There, he finds and attacks a person in silhouette only to find out it is a mannequin doused with perfume. Hugh then kills the Infected, and realises from how the perfume attracted him that the Infected use their sense of smell to find the uninfected, and that trace amounts of perfume and shampoo will attract them to the source.
Before Hugh can gloat, however, he is attacked by another survivor wearing SWAT gear and a hockey mask. Evading the assailant's hail of fire, Hugh makes for safety and plans to eliminate this apparent threat. Stocking up on ammunition (and perfume), Hugh sets out for the hunt.
After being ambushed by Hugh, the other survivor retreats to his vehicle - a commandeered military transport. Hugh douses the vehicle with about a gallon of perfume from his rooftop perch, and before the other survivor can question the meaning of the act, he is attacked and overwhelmed by hundreds of Infected attracted by the smell, who tear him apart. Hugh shoots the vehicle until he ignites its petrol tank, killing the Infected. Behind him, though, he hears an unfamiliar sound and turns to see several US Navy F-14 Tomcats making a low pass over central London.
Stage 4: QuarantineEdit
The final story takes place 38 to 42 days after the Rage Virus was released. Sid and his sister Sophie have reached a military quarantine camp and have been taken in. Sophie now volunteers at the makeshift hospital, where she meets a new arrival brought in from one of the city hospitals. It is Clive, who has survived his suicide attempt. When he realises what the virus he helped create has done, he initially attempts to explain his involvement directly, but quickly decides to hide his responsibility. Instead, he explains what he can do about the virus, revealing only that he is a scientist himself.
Sid, meanwhile, becomes friends with another new arrival - Hugh. Hugh initially refused to be brought to the camp and he explains his misgivings to Sid. Eventually, Hugh is able to convince Sid, Sophie, and Clive that the military has ulterior motives and that they must escape. They steal some uniforms and weapons and they head for the hills, but they are detected. Sid and Hugh volunteer to remain behind to hold off the soldiers following them; they are both killed in a fusillade of gunfire.
Higher up the hill, Clive stops Sophie and reveals that he was on the team which developed the virus that killed her family and warns that it could possibly mutate again. He tries to ask her to help him find a way to make things right. Instead, Sophie kisses him, then shoots him in the head. Smiling, she drops her pistol, and allows a sniper aboard the pursuit helicopter to kill her with a rifle shot through the head.
- The Hooligan
- Roger (The Aftermath)
- Hugh Baker
- Mrs. Baker (picture and mentioned only)
- The Hunter
- In 28 Days Later, only one of the infected chimps was released, and was killed immediately after it infected an animal activist. However, in The Aftermath, at least two of the other infected apes somehow escaped as well.
- At the start of Part Three, when the infected man is following the smell of perfume through Queen's Gardens, an Evening Standard newspaper, which is the same print as the one Jim found in 28 Days Later, can be seen.