Friday, April 7, 2017

Review - The Courier #1 (@zenescope)


Rebuilding after a worldwide disaster is a tall order that requires people to pull together. Despite this, there will still be some who are content to hole up and let the rest of the world continue to suffer. That leaves a void that needs to be filled by someone like Eve in The Courier #1 from Zenescope. The issue is written by Ralph Tedesco, illustrated by J.G. Miranda, colored by Bryan Valenza and lettered by Kurt Hathaway.

In 2033 less than 1% of the population survived a devastating pandemic virus. Half of those who lived were immune while half of the survivors mutated into something disturbingly subhuman. The vast "wasteland" between strongholds is a very dangerous and unforgiving place where the poor are forced to live in areas where gangs, pirates and the mutated roam free. Couriers are key to the survival of the Strongholds and are paid handsomely to deliver valuables between them. Eve Harper is one of the best couriers there is, but when she takes a job to find a missing shipment for an extremely dangerous drug dealer named Gillings, Eve is forced to use every trick she's ever learned in order to survive the riskiest job of her life.

Tedesco seems content to keep things in The Courier #1 pretty straightforward and takes an equally no-frills approach. The issue sets up the key players, lays out the stakes and fills out some of the details in the world pretty cleanly. Tedesco characterizes Eve as a Courier who's been around the block a few times and moves the story through her while also offering a power-struggle of sorts elsewhere. It's an effective means of setting up the series, in that Tedesco gives both storylines enough room to breathe and develop on their own. The dialogue is pretty clean as well and Tedesco doesn't hold the hands of the readers, instead letting them interpret things.

The concise linework in The Courier #1 by Miranda is a good fit for the story. Many of the human characters sport something of a Mad Max influence, clothed in rugged clothes that reflect a weary lifestyle. Miranda also does a good job of illustrating the Primals as something far from being human; not quite making them zombies but more feral beasts. Panels are laid out very cleanly and offer great shots of the action throughout with Miranda emphasizing the war-torn world of the issue. Valenza uses pretty minimal coloring to cast the world in a relatively dire light as well.

The Courier #1 is an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic narrative that eschews zombies for something similar. Eve is one of the few in the world willing to risk her life for a job that needs to be done. Tedesco's script is clean and offers a compelling story. Miranda's illustrations are a good fit for the story and rely on a pretty clean and minimal approach. The Courier #1 shows a publisher in Zenescope looking to branch out into properties that aren't so influenced by the fairy tales of past.

The Courier #1 is available now.

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