Xpress Reviews: Graphic Novels | First Look at New Books, March 21, 2014

Week ending March 21, 2014

Kot, Ales (text) & Michael Walsh & others (illus.). Zero. Vol. 1: “An Emergency.” Image. 2014. 172p. ISBN 9781607068631. pap. $9.99. Rated: M. THRILLER
zero032114Kot (Wild Children) crafts a thriller about war, technology, and the human condition through the eyes of trained spy Edward Zero and his life of merciless killings. The variety of art is jarring and edgy but so is the story. Each of the five issues collected here is illustrated by a different artist and encapsulates a specific time in Zero’s life. What does it mean that children are washed of emotion and trained to murder without ever questioning the sanctity of life? Should we care if the schooled assassins might be clones? Kot and the diversity of visual creators leave the reader stumped and wanting more. The cliffhanger ending alludes to a swift sf twist. Image has been very consistent with strong titles, but this is not one of its more intriguing. Zero falls into a similar space with Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s The Manhattan Projects, where the latter would be a better choice.
Verdict Gory depictions of homicides and the overall narrative are suited for mature readers only. Kot presents an exciting plot, and he’s chosen talented artists to facilitate his storytelling. Recommended for spy thriller enthusiasts and libraries looking for niche titles.—Teresa Potter-Reyes, Helen Hall Lib., League City, TX