Once again, Ales Kot, Jordie Bellaire and the guest-penciler deliver a gripping single issue story that stands alone, but also very much continues to build the world of Zero. This story is the most science-fictiony yet, and it’s a lot of fun.
Taking place in Shanghai in the Year 2019, Zero and his fellow spy Mina (who we saw as a little kid in #2) are undercover at a gathering of world terrorists put together by the balaclava-wearing Ginsberg Nova, who in this world is comparable to Osama Bin Laden. Zero, with Mina’s help, is able to sneak off to the bathroom, into the heating ducts, and find his way to the secret room where Nova is demonstrating his new weapon… a teleportation device, which he uses to head to Ottowa for 7 seconds. Just as he’s about to invite his fellow criminals to try it out, he gets a phone-call, and discovers that there are spies from the Agency at the party. He shoots the other guys, and captures Mina. It seems to me that there is an mole in the Agency who is leaking to Nova, and it could very well be someone high up.
Zero makes his way back to the party, where Nova tells all the other terrorists that they are giving his noble art a bad name, that they are sloppy, so he kills them with ‘targeted molecular disassemblification’, basically, they disappear. Because the machine that did this doesn’t have Zero’s dna on file, he’s the only one left, standing face to face with Nova. The stand-off between the two of them is very tense, especially with Mina in the middle of it, and Nova drops a lot of cryptic hints about the nature of who Zero is, and his past, and what the Agency has done to him. Kot is building this back-story slowly but surely, and I imagine that a lot of what Nova says here will mean something very different in a few years time.
Zero is able to get his hands on a gun, shoot all of Nova’s men and turn things around, in a few pages that are a lot more exciting than I just described them thanks to Mateus Santolouco’s artwork. I really like Santolouco, I first saw his work when he filled in on some American Vampire, and he does have a similar style to Rafael Albugurque, which means his art is very stylish, but here, he busts out some more experimental layouts and styles, especially when Zero is sliding his way through the ducts. Jordie Bellaire’s colours are once again excellent, she is one of the best colourists in the business, and that shone through in the pages involving the teleporter, where everything was shaded blue. Except on the panel where Zero shoots Nova in the head of course, which has yellow on it, very effective.
Oh yeah, Zero shoots Nova in the head, I forgot, silly me. So, after Nova is shot, Zero and Mina are about to escape through the teleportation portal, until, Nova, who is somehow not dead, presses a button just as Zero gets through, and on the other side he’s left with just Mina’s arm as the teleporter was turned off with her halfway through. This was a great ending, and it’s the sort of thing that probably would happen with teleportation in real life, but never does in fiction.
This issue raises a lot of questions for the future, is Mina dead? How is Nova not dead? Who is Nova anyways? Man, after only 3 issues, Kot has me hooked, and what makes this even more interesting is that, in the text-piece after the main story, Zero lies through his teeth to Zizek about what happened, saying that Mina shot Nova. Why did he do this? Does he think Zizek is a mole? Or is there something more? Hmmm.
This is a great book, each issue has made me think, and each issue has pretty much been in an entirely different genre to the last, this kind of experimentation and change is what I want from my Image Comics, and Zero is among the best of their stellar line-up.