Rating: 4/5 – A unique spy thriller with an interesting twist.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Jeff Bouchard.
Zero is the story of spy Edward Zero, but to simply lump it in with the other spy/espionage comics on the shelves would be doing it a great disservice. Writer Ales Kot is playing with several different devices in the pages of Zero including jumping around in time to tell his story and bringing in some other genres to this spy thriller, as seen in the pages of volume 1, “An Emergency”, which collects issues 1 through 5 at a cover price of $9.99. Image has historically priced their first volumes aggressively to give new readers an inexpensive point of entry to their titles and with discounts you can find the volume as low as $4.99 which is a steal.
One thing that you notice as you read the trade is each issue pairs a different artist with writer Ales Kot, colorist Jordie Bellaire and letterer Clayton Cowles. The penciling duties on the issues are: Issue 1 – Michael Walsh, Issue 2 – Tradd Moore, Issue 3 – Mateus Santolouco, Issue 4 – Morgan Jeske and Issue 5 – Will Tempest. I was not familiar with the majority of these artists so on the one hand it was nice to be exposed to new artists and styles but I couldn’t help but get an anthology feel from the trade as each issue brought a new art style to the table and some were more to my liking than others. This inconsistency affected my overall enjoyment of the title ever so slightly.
The content of the trade revolves around spy Edward Zero and seems focused on a twenty year span between 2018 and 2038. The first issue opens with an older Zero in 2038 in a precarious position stating that he has a story to tell. The issues jump around focusing on important points in those decades as we see a younger Zero on his first assignment and an experienced Zero in the thick of an undercover job that goes awry. The latter is probably my highlight of the trade as issue 3 is well written, action packed and nicely illustrated by Santolouco with Bellaire’s colors jumping off the page.
Zero volume 1: “An Emergency” is a great collection at a very reasonable price. Kot really pushes Edward Zero in many directions and takes readers along for the ride. From the partially wordless action-packed issue 4 that seems like you are almost reading a movie to the revelations in issue 5 that leaves you wondering and wanting more. Kot plays with time and jumps us around Zero’s past but never in a way that seems confusing or detrimental to the story. If anything the multiple artists and story-telling devices add layers to the book and a unique spin not seen in many other comics. Zero is a spy thriller, but it is so much more as the last issue hints and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard
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