Review: Zero #1
Edward Zero is the perfect execution machine – a spy who breaks the rules to get things done. When a stolen device appears in the center of a long-running conflict, Zero comes to retrieve it. The problem is, the device is inside a living, breathing, bio-modified terrorist and there’s an entire army after it.
Zero, a brand new series from Image Comics, debuts today. Zero #1 is written by Ales Kot with art by Michael Walsh. Jordie Bellaire handles colors and Clayton Cowles tackles lettering. Zero says it’s about a “new breed of spy,” but is it really fresh or just more of the same old same old?
The story opens on the cliffs of Dover in the year 2038. An old man is setting in a chair near the edge of the cliff with a young boy standing behind him about to kill him. The old man doesn’t want to stop the boy from pulling the trigger, he just wants to tell a story first. We flash back to The Gaza Strip in 2018. The old man was a spy named Edward Zero. He has been given a mission to retrieve a stolen piece of technology that has been the center of a big conflict. The only problem is that the device is a cybernetic enhancement that is currently attached to a living person, a bi0-modified terrorist to be exact. The army is moving in to take out the terrorist who is currently engaged in a massive battle with another enhanced soldier. The two men are having a brutal fight to the death. Zero has to sneak behind enemy lines, get near the enhanced fighters, and pry some tech out of the terrorist’s chest. It’s not an easy mission. While all of this is going on, a man and a woman behind the agency Zero works for are watching the agent’s progress from afar. The duo are fighting over Zero and how fit he is to be doing field work. It seems some strings were pulled to make sure the older agent got back into the game. During the mission Zero makes a pretty big decision that could come back to haunt him. What are the real goals of his current string of missions though?
Kot writes an incredibly fast-paced, action-packed, and tense thriller. We learn a little about the plot and the characters as the story unfolds, but it unfolds at a breakneck pace. Zero is on a mission and we’re right there beside him every step of the way. Imagine Jason Bourne and James Bond with a touch of the Bionic Man if it was really gritty. Kot writes a very adult story in terms of the brutality of the violence shown and the adult situations/nudity in one particular scene. The good thing about it is that it isn’t violence and sex for violence and sex’s sake. They make sense for the story (except maybe the sex scene, but it seems like it will pay off later). Walsh’s art is fantastic. It has a very slight David Aja vibe to it with the action and panel layouts. The character work is brilliant and Walsh presents a believable war zone full of damage and destruction. The final few pages are great with the use of the countdown clock. Bellaire’s colors are stellar as always. She helps flesh out the environment and really sells the action.
Bottom Line: Zero #1 hits the ground running. Image is putting out a lot of great new series, but this one may just be the best. Each issue of Zero will feature a new artist for each new mission Zero takes on, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out and whether it will effect the book or not. Zero #1 is well worth checking out. 4/5
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