Review - Awaken Skies #0 (@AspenComics)

"Hope you get this, Weaver."

Life as a scientist has its ups and downs. The ups are when you discover something fascinating, the downs are when you're being hunted by clandestine organizations because you know too much. In Awaken Skies #0 from Aspen Comics, knowing too much might be more trouble than it's worth. The issue is written by Frank Mastromauro, penciled by Marco Lorenzana, inked by Mark Roslan, colored by Justice and lettered by Taylor Esposito.

In the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, Spain, a covert scientist discovers that possessing valuable data that could change the world comes with a dangerous price. However, it may be far too late for him to escape before the powers that be come to collect! Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a loving suburban family makes a similar discovery, that the world is indeed much smaller than it seems, and no one is safe!

Like other #0 issues, Awaken Skies #0 is very much a setup issue. Mastromauro moves things along quite briskly in an effort to get the first issue primed for readers. The events in the issue are pretty simple, largely predicated on transferring information from one character to another, the latter of which is poised to be a main character going forward. Mastromauro doesn't really delve into much more about the series' namesake, instead relying on the brief introduction of the characters to carry the issue. The issue does bear many of the hallmarks of other Aspen Comics series in that Mastromauro attempts to marry technology and fantasy.

Lorenzana's pencils are clean. Characters are rendered with sharp angles and soft curves, all of which give the book a superhero feel. The panels boast a variety of layouts that keep the action on the page moving along without Lorenzana making things too distracting. Roslan's inks spice things up a bit as well with some shading here and there throughout the issue for depth and effect. The colors by Justice are pretty basic, but give the book a nice finish.

Awaken Skies #0 is a pretty ho-hum zero issue that sets out to accomplish its goal: set up the remainder of the series. The few players introduced all seem to be pivotal to the story unfolding and their inevitable interaction with one another will be a cause for fireworks. Mastromauro's script is pretty safe and low-key. Lorenzana's pencils are just as simple. Awaken Skies #0 is the start of something new for Aspen Comics, but it still bears the look and feel of an Aspen Comics property.

Awaken Skies #0 is available June 20.