Writer: Fred Van Lente
Art: Francis Portela
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT (August 2016)
Meet Keisha. A young woman who hears the whispers that if people have trouble, they can get on a site and request help from Generation Zero. Keisha calls for help after her boyfriend has mysteriously disappeared. As she deals with her life in one of the most advanced cities in the United States, Keisha reaches out for help while the town seems to think her boyfriend just left ….
This is kinda of both a good and bad. So, I am going to discuss the negative aspect here. Being the first issue of the series, while I definitely see what Van Lente was going for, it is kind of odd that the stars of the book are only peppered throughout. Yet, it’s a minor problem. Cause while they are not predominantly featured, they are predominantly mentioned.
Moment of the Issue:
That glorious moment that readers figure out that Keisha’s cry for help was being answered.
Van Lente is one of those writers that just nails presenting characters with an interesting concept. Here was the “A-Team” concept, a team of nomadic heroes that help others out, is one of the core concepts here and Van Lente weaves that in this first issue as you were breathing. The concept is weaved into the story by is not heavy handed. And Van Lente spends the bulk of the issue introducing and developing the guide for readers to get to know. Keisha feels like teenager who just wants to know what happened to her boyfriend. Yet, Van Lente just doesn’t sell the book on the concept or Keisha alone. Van Lente adds some great concepts into the book that just fits so well. The use of the internet as a way of contact, the over all structure and lore into Rook, Michigan … these are all things that flavor the book and peak interest to readers. And nothing seems to feel out of place at all. The dialogue flows like wine and reading this book makes you understand Keisha and the “myth” of Generation Zero more, making their appearance at the last fifth of the book feel like a big deal. Van Lente’s use of social media and word of mouth within the book does exactly what it needs to do to hype the appearance of our heroes while they are not there. Hence why the team’s appearances within this first issue is kind of a double edged sword.
Portela has worked well before with Van Lente in the past and this is their best collaboration yet. There’s an edge to his normal style that you can see on these pages. After Portela’s high profile work on Faith, this book definitely keeps that energy going and surpasses it. The clean line work from Portela brings a lot of great detail and weight into the book. Portela does a bit more with characters here. More body language than normal and bit more detail to the backgrounds, but slightly less on the characters. It seems to be a happy medium that works, giving the book a very distinct look and feel. Character designs for Gen Zero and Keisha are visually superb. Each panel has a lot to offer, bring new bits of detail to the world around them, Keisha or something related to the main plot. Meanwhile, Dalhouse’s colors are very robust. There is an over lining darker tone being used over the entirety of the book, but it works extremely well. It helps give a captivating quality to Portela’s art while the color tones actual used to give the world life and just left things pop off the panel. The varied colors also sling in mood really well, giving the book a weight that screams at readers “You at me and how pretty I am.”
Generation Zero is one of those books that start grip you from page one and make you feel full invested in the series by the end of the first issue. Portela and Dalhouse really create some of their best work yet here, using the are to give a distinct look and flavor for Generation Zero that many other books do not have when they start. The panel work is nicely detailed and jumps out at you without being too colorful or too hampered. Van Lente’s writing is superb. The concepts used in this issue are utilized well, making the book look and feel fresh as you read it. A lot of concepts used here seem like no brainers, but Van Lente pulls them off in a way readers will find engaging, alongside our lead this issue. Keisha is a strong, multi-layered guide for readers and really find her engaging. And while our stars were barely in the first issue physically, I do like that the usage of their reputation hanged over the book until they actually showed up … even if our lead didn’t realize it. Generation Zero takes a great twist on the “A-Team/Hell Girl” concepts and blends them with traditional teen superheroes effortlessly. Definitely one of the best new books of the year.