After a brief break, Zero returns for another excellent issue as Ales Kot continues to tip this title even further into sci-fi territory. After an intriguing opening in which an unknown voice talks about ‘Phase Shift’ and a story about the Nazis bombing a Russian forest. The man telling this anecdote is Ginsberg Nova, but we won’t know that until later. So sorry for spoiling it!
Kot then gets the real story going with Edward Zero’s return to action. His mission is to go to CERN and stop the terrorists that have taken over the facility. Throughout the mission, Zero is full of doubt about what he’s doing, and he over-thinks things, but that doesn’t really stop him, and there’s a serious trail of carnage as Zero violently kills all of the terrorists.
I’m not familiar with this issue’s artist Vanesa Del Rey at all, but she really impressed me here. Her style is very loose and expressive, but that just meant the violence looked truly graphic. Real fights are very messy, and Del Rey sold that messiness. As ever, Jordie Bellaire’s colours contribute a lot to the overall look, both in depicting the red blood of battle, but also the overwhelming blue of the Large Hadron Collider. That’s one of the best things about this title, each issue gives you something new and different with the pencils, but Bellaire is there to keep that consistency. I’ll be sure to keep a look out for other Vanesa Del Rey work in the future. Zero makes his way to the centre of CERN, where he finds the big cheese responsible, Ginsberg Nova, who begins his ‘Phase Shift’ spiel.
Elsewhere, Zizek and Cooke have reconciled after she beat him up, and they are discussing Zero, and whether or not he should be back in the field. In the middle of this, Zizek receives a package. It’s an origami horse and a note that says ‘I quit’. Kot is very subtle about all of this, but I think it’s clear that the person quitting is Ginsberg Nova, who’s been working for Zizek all this time.
Back at CERN, Ginsberg removes his mask to reveal the face of Robert, someone Zero knows well and was, I’m guessing a fellow student at the Agency’s school. Zero is desperate to stop Nova/Robert from using the Collider, but he’s unable to get through the glass, and his friend/enemy is able to walk through a portal into… who knows what. He just disappears. The issue ends with a transcript of Zero’s post-mission debrief, where once again he lies about what really happened.
Kot really is building something special here, it looks now like Zizek has been manipulating everyone by working with Ginsberg Nova at the same time as running missions against him. I have no idea where all of this is going and how it will all tie in with the messed-up stuff we saw at the end of #5.
This title delivers surprises every month, different art every month, and even though I’m full of questions, I’m always satisfied.