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Generation Zero #1 Review - Just for the Hell of It
Dark Web Heroes
Written by: Fred Van Lente Art by: Francis Portela & Andrew Dalhouse
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 24, 2016
Review by: Branden Murray
I’ve fallen deeper and deeper into the Valiant Universe over the past year and have enjoyed almost all of what I’ve read. Basically, what I’m saying is that if I died and came back reincarnated as Ninjak or X-O Manowar, I wouldn’t be complaining too much. I really love how all the books have concepts that are unique, art that is amazing, and if you’re looking for heroes interacting within a connected universe, there really isn’t a much better option currently available at your local comic shop. When Valiant started introducing and teasing its newest creation, Generation Zero, I immediately felt a “New Mutants” vibe from the advertisements and there was an extreme intrigue on my behalf to get in on the ground level. So, with the release date finally upon us, does Generation Zero #1 crush an over the plate home run in its first at bat in the Bigs or strikeout looking? Read on to find out.
Things start off with our main point of view character, Keisha, seen talking to several of her high school aged friends, asking them how she could possibly get in contact with a mysterious group known as "Generation Zero". After varying degrees of success, Keisha does what any normal human would do after conflicting answers are given which means she Googles it … or in this instance, uses this Universe's version and “Babbles it" to discover more.
As the book progresses, we're filled in on the back story regarding our setting and main characters. You see, this town of Rook, Michigan has experienced a sudden surge in economic growth after a Silicon Valley-esque tech boom has mysteriously resulted in a new and mammoth sprawling metropolis ... but with secrets of course. There are always secrets! One of these secrets seems to center on Keisha and her relationship with a “bad boy” named Stephen who mysteriously died of very odd circumstances, or so she believes. Another mystery centers on Generation Zero and whether or not they are even real in the first place.
The present and past come to a head quickly when we find out that Keisha is trying to contact Generation Zero because she suspects the town and her father, the sheriff of Rook, to be hiding the true nature of Stephen’s death. Keisha hits pay dirt on the dark web making contact with Generation Zero and is given instructions on what to do to cover up this secret meeting which mostly involves acting normal. I don’t know about you, but about the only thing I can't do when someone specifically tells me to act normal is to act normal so good luck there Keisha.
After arriving home from school the next day, Keisha goes to the mailbox to see a message sent to her from Stephen just before his passing. Cue the music as I slyly remove my sunglasses because after years of watching David Caruso on CSI:Miami I think this is what we call a lead. Keisha opens the package to discover a hidden message on CD that was left for her. Without giving away the ending and cliffhanger, the CD combined with a party invite from a day at school are the catalysts that ultimately lead to the conflict at the conclusion of our issue. Mysteries begin to unravel, villains are introduced, and our heroes make a grand entrance before I'm left wanting issue two now!
The story and dialogue by Fred Van Lante moves everything along nicely. He should be complimented for being able to write a story about young people without the language coming off as feeling lame or forced. The art and colors are provided here by Francis Portela and Andrew Dalhouse respectively. Much like all Valiant's titles, the art is also a huge selling point. The line work and detail in every panel and page throughout this book is amazing.
My suggestion is to definitely give this a try, but there are a few things to also be aware of. Several attempts are made at humor throughout the issue, in this case with pop culture references, which felt odd and out of place in this world. It was also strange that the book was so focused on Keisha like she is going to be the main character throughout this title. Overall, the issue had very little focus on Generation Zero until the very end. This makes me wonder if Keisha will become part of the group going forward and if not, why is so much time spent with her in our introductory issue here while the title characters are ignored? These are minor nitpicks in a first world building issue of what I would call a really good introductory comic.
Bits and Pieces:
Needless to say, if you’re a fan of the Valiant universe, or even just mystery titles at all, this feels like a worthwhile addition to your pull list. Valiant has added another diverse title to their ever expanding lineup leaving me intrigued to learn more about just what secrets Rook, Michigan contains and what Keisha and Generation Zero can uncover. Even though our namesake heroes don’t have a huge presence here, the setup provided to introduce them is extremely intriguing. Give these dark web heroes a try.