Ever since I was blown away by his truncated run on Suicide Squad, I’ve been very excited for this new Image series from Ales Kot, a writer who I believe has a big future, and indeed, DC’s loss is not only Image’s gain, but now also Marvel’s, as he’s got a gig there co-writing Secret Avengers.
This first issue of Zero felt like only a toe-dip in the water, but already, I’m excited to see where this is all going. Zero is about a bad-ass secret agent named Edward Zero, who seems to have been part of some kind of weird experimentation from the British Government. We don’t know exactly what it is yet, but I am certainly intrigued by the little snippets we get here. The mission for Zero here is certainly dangerous and complicated, because it involves the Gaza Strip, which even in the year 2018 has not been sorted out (let’s face it, it’s never going to get sorted out). Hamas has stolen some kind of super-power technology from British Intelligence, and now a super-powered Hamas Soldier is in fist-fight with a super-powered Israeli in the middle of Gaza. Zero’s job is to get in, and retrieve the technology so Israel doesn’t know that Britain lost it. It’s complicated stuff, but it all seems very real, and setting the book 5 years in the future gives Kot that bit of leeway when he’s drawing from the real world as this kind of technology could very well actually be around come 2018, I wouldn’t be surprised.
So, Zero is trapped in the middle of this massive fight, and boy, is it bloody, it’s the Israel/Palestine conflict boiled down to just 2 men, and our hero is definitely outmatched. I loved the scene where the two super-soldiers are bounding across the rooftops like the Hulk, and Zero tries to do the same, and, whilst hejust about makes it, he does end up face-first in the dirt. In the end, it takes a Tank to stop these guys, and Zero manages to retrieve the stolen tech, but he also decides to kill the Israeli soldier too, because of an innocent child crushed in their battle. The last page ends with Zero revealing he lies to his superiors about what happens, and that he’s going to be lying a lot more, which is exciting.
Speaking of last pages, this book is unique, as it utilises every available space to tell it’s story, and even the inside covers are story pages. This was weird at first, but I really like it, makes the book seem unique, and also very much value for money, this is 30 pages of comic, with no ads, for $2.99, to be honest, a much better deal than Marvel and DC.
This was an intriguing introduction to an exciting new series, with Kot showing us who Zero is not through dialogue, but through action. We don’t know a lot about what this book is going to be yet, there are a few pages with Zero’s handlers, who look to be interesting characters, at first they seem to be adversarial towards each other, but then we see them having sex, so there’s a lot of complexity there. I can’t wait for future issues to peel back the layers on not just Zero, but on these other characters, and what the world will be like in 2018.
In terms of art, Zero is doing something different, as every issue will have a different penciler, which certainly brings to mind another great spy series, Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency. If this book can reach those heights, then we are in for a treat. First up here is Michael Walsh, who I’m not too familiar with, but he does a bang-up job here with a gritty, violent and realistic style, if you like John Paul Leon or Michael Lark, then Walsh is similar to that. It’s also worth praising the colours of Jordie Bellaire, who if I remember correctly, will be colouring every issue, even with the different artists, to provide some sense of continuity. This is a great idea, especially because Bellaire has, in a short space of time, become one of the best colourists in comics. I know I’m a bit lax at mentioning artists beyond the penciler in my reviews, but it’s not often the colourist really stands out to me, but on Zero, it looks like Bellaire is going to be very important, and it’s going to be interesting to see how she colours a wide variety of artists.
Image have done it once again, another #1, and another fascinating comic, that for me, can only get better from this baseline of awesome.