Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review - Generation Zero #1 (@ValiantComics)


"So...how do I find them?"

Uncovering the mysteries of a loved one's disappearance is always a trying process. There's still a need to piece together what exactly happened and get to the bottom of things, but sometimes there are greater powers at play that want to prevent the truth from coming out. Generation Zero #1 from Valiant Entertainment is offering all sorts of conspiracy. The issue is written by Fred Van Lente, illustrated by Francis Portela, colored by Andrew Dalhouse and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Years ago, the children of the experimental strike team known as Generation Zero were taken from their families by Project Rising Spirit, a private weapons contractor, and raised to be psychic soldiers. After years of taking orders, they have fought for and won their freedom. Now, the world's most wanted teenagers have pledged to protect each other tooth and claw, while using their extraordinary abilities to right wrongs for a generation without a future. To fight for kids, just like them. One of those kids is Keisha Sherman, whose boyfriend just turned up dead after a suspicious car crash in Rook, Michigan - a newly booming tech town that sprang from rags to super-riches seemingly overnight. When Keisha makes a desperate plea into her webcam, the local high school suddenly finds itself with several unusual new students. But as word of Generation Zero's presence spreads rapidly through the halls, this volatile band of teenage upstarts is about to discover that they're far from the most extraordinary thing lurking behind Rook's stainless-steel facade.

The crux of Generation Zero #1 relies on the concept that teenagers are capable of doing great things and Van Lente leans on that heavily in the issue. Keisha is written off as just another kid making up stories in regards to Stephen's accident, but Van Lente uses that incident as the catalyst for the story. His dialogue is very low-key and strays away from grandstanding--instead, it relies on Keish's relatively calm demeanor to inform the reader from her point of view. There are also plenty of other Valiant influences in the book, primarily the fact that the characters share traits with those of Harbinger. The pacing feels a little uneven as the first three-fourths of the book is about introducing Keisha and the last one-fourth sort of crashes through the set-up for the remainder of the series.

Generation Zero #1 has a very clean and stylistic artistic style that emphasizes the look of Keisha and the other teens more than anything else. Portela illustrates all the characters with very soft edges and an abundance of curves that gives them plenty of babyface appeal. He also works in plenty of panel arrangements that help move the story forward visually and breaks up the pages. A few panels focus on close-ups on facial expressions that Van Lente uses to great effect in underscoring the prevailing emotion experienced by the characters. Dalhouse's colors are pretty vibrant and also tap into the innocence of youth.

Generation Zero #1 is a good first issue that establishes Keisha as a very strong lead character. She's going through plenty of things other teenagers go through on top of having to figure out what happened to Stephen whom she felt strongly towards. Van Lente writes the issue very well and offers enough in the first issue to let it succeed in establishing the stakes for the series. Portela's artwork is a good match for the content and helps bring the emotion of the young characters to life. Generation Zero #1 is a solid start to what will likely be a different take on what it's like going through the formative teenage years.

Generation Zero #1 is in stores now.

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