Saturday, December 31, 2016

Generation Zero #5 Review

Creep Show

Written by: Fred Van Lente
Art by: Francis Portela, Diego Bernard and Andrew Dalhouse
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 28, 2016
Review by: RepairmanJack

As a new reader to the Valiant Universe I came into Generation Zero not really knowing what to expect. I had gotten some fun cape comedy from Faith, some mind bendy ninja assassin plot from Ninjak and sci-fi thriller from Divinity III. I came into Generation Zero expecting something along the lines of a Teen Titans with maybe a little darker slant to it. What it started out as was a little more fun and light hearted than I had expected with one of the issues taking a comical spin on the Archie format. That being said it quickly started to show that darker side with an issue that oddly disturbed me more than I thought a comic actually could. So as the story arc starts to come to a head does the book continue to go down that darker side or does it continue to evolve and maybe surprise by going in an entirely different direction?

This issue starts off with the local Sheriff's office responding to the call of the Zeroes trespassing in the Rook school grounds in what looks like complete counter-psiot gear. Immediately the art in the issue hits me as a little off. It does some close ups with the Zeroes early on and it just seems really rough. It ends up coming around a bit later on, but at first it was kind of jarring. It doesn’t help that those shots are followed up by some equally jarring and cringe dialogue which includes both “getting woke” and two children imagining more clothes on a person because they find humans just that repulsive. All together this stuff just came off really forced to me and made me immediately think this was the writing effort to reach those "fellow kids".

After a rocky start the issue really comes around with two scenes that I quite enjoyed. We start with Keisha sitting by as the Zygos twins continue to scour the Rook futuristic tech they happened upon in the previous issue. They end up finding some sort of injection that reverses effects of a drink the school seems to be using to inhibit the towns brains in some way. MIND CONTROL! Then we get Keisha’s younger brother making an appearance asking his sister why she was late to pick him up and how she could forget him. She realizes it is some kind of hologram just as the Corner Men make an attempt to abduct the twins. After getting away with Katherine, one of the twins, Keisha and James run outside to make an escape with the others. Once outside we get a pretty intense moment of an officer forgoing his orders and switching to lethal weaponry and firing on Keisha as she makes her way out of the school. Telic, despite her previous feelings toward Keisha, jumps in the way getting near fatally wounded. Causing Christian to start going lethal himself on Keisha’s dad of all people. It ends up stopping short of going too far and the group decides to escape while they can.

What I really liked about these two scenes is the amount of character it showed for the team. We see one of the twins finally be unsettled and show a different emotion other than contempt and it comes with the two being separated. We already got the idea that they were dependent on each other but it’s still nice to see how much exactly one is unsettled when they are separated. We also get a lot from the next scene, in what could have come off very easily as a cliche sacrifice for the protagonist, really doesn’t come off that way at all. Telic says straight away that it had nothing to do with Keisha it was just how much she was devoted to Christian and how much she knew Keisha was coming to mean to him. It also leads to Christian getting brutal himself and then leading to a very emotionless scene between Keisha and her father. Her father asks Keisha to simply not go with the Zeroes and without even a seconds thought proclaims the Zeros as her new family and they're off. I could be reading a little more into it than is really intended, but with very little to go off between Keisha and her father it comes off to me as straight cold.

We eventually end at a cliffhanger that isn't exactly earth shattering, but is pretty cool nonetheless. Largely this issue just makes me more curious about the Corner Men which remind me heavily of the Scissor Men from Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run, which I just happen to reading through at this same time. I wonder how much they have to do with the current state of the town and this futuristic tech, or if they're simply a byproduct of experimental science along the lines of The Mist. Either way I'm left simultaneously creeped out and curious for more, which is great as a sign they're not an element being leaned on too much.

Bits and Pieces:

Overall the issue had a rocky start with some rough art and dialogue but it really came around to be an enjoyable issue. With some pretty creepy characters and an overall mystery that is getting more and more interesting I’m really looking forward to seeing the next issue and the conclusion of this first arc.