Year Zero #1 Review - The Beginning of the End...
I recently reviewed Decorum #2 and praised it for pushing the medium forward. After reading Year Zero #1 I also have to levy similar praise to AWA Studios. This comic also pushes the art-form forward in regards to what can be done using comics as a visual medium of storytelling.
Like all other AWA titles that I've purchased and reviewed, I didn't have much insight going into this. I recognized Benjamin Percy as the writer of Wolverine and X-Force and honestly that was enough for me to give the book a shot.
The narrative structure of the comic is totally different from any other comic I've ever read and I'm pretty old. The story I kept thinking about while reading was Cloud Atlas. That story focused on several protagonists across time and space. While everything seemed disconnected at first, the story found deeper meaning as the narrative began to fold into itself and establish connections between the leads.
I'm not sure if Ben Percy is going as esoteric with Year Zero as was done in Cloud Atlas. What I expect to happen is that the events depicted in the book will overlap and the connections established will be based in the state of the world and how our protagonists react to it.
Sara Lemons is a scientist studying core samples in the Arctic.
Daniel Martinez is a young man trying to survive on his own after his mother is brutally murdered in front of him.
Saga Watanabe is an assassin in the middle of a mission that doesn't go quite as expected.
Fatemah Shah's story is set Kabal, she misleads a group of Marines in order to save a group of women from their abusive captors.
B.J. Kool is a survivalist and conspiracy theorist. The problem is that the Apocalypse is real.
If Year Zero #1 was a video game, the point where the comic ends would be where the player would choose their character and set off on their adventure.
Clearly the world is falling apart and we're going along for the ride. Ben describes the story as being at the outset of the apocalypse. After reading the comic I think I can see what he's going for.
The layouts and general art direction for Year Zero are amazing. As much as the comics shifts characters and locations I was never lost regarding the events or what was happening on the page. I imagine the intensity will pick up as the story develops but considering how many plot threads are being juggled I'm totally impressed.
The concept is unique and it's nice to see genuine experimentation within the genre. I mentioned Decorum earlier and while that series takes graphic design to the next level, Year Zero plays with the basic formatting of comic structure. The narrative may play out totally different than what I'm expecting but it's a cool idea and presents limitless possibilities beyond just this series and I appreciate it as a longtime fan of the medium.