7th October, 2008
"With a tale that is part Armageddon and part Aliens, surprises are few and far between...Sci-fi fans will see those twists coming a mile away, but keeping in mind that this is the set-up issue, more genuine surprises must be on their way over the next few instalments."
I know this book has been getting its praise, from the likes of Stan Lee (in his typically enthusiastic way) and Steve Niles, but I can only assume they’ve been privy to all of the issues. I’m not saying this is a bad book. Far from it. It’s just that this opening salvo is not entirely original. But, that said, there is certainly a firm foundation so I can only hope that it continues to build upon this issue to create a fully immersive sci-fi tale.
Produced by Top Cow and Spacedog Entertainment, Zero-G is written by Alex Zamm, with art by Jason Badower. This is undoubtedly their biggest book to date and could be a great launching point for long lasting careers if this series takes off. It’s a suitable showcase for the talents of both men.
It begins with NASA geologist Atom Weaver’s discovery of a rock. A big, valuable rock. Or asteroid, rather. One named Z-1492. If it was up to me, I’d name asteroids after people, like hurricanes, instead of numbering them, but anyway. Good old Z-1492 is on a course for earth, or at least close enough to it, and because of this a unique window of opportunity is present to examine its rich mineral deposits. So full of natural resources is the humungous rock that it could effectively cause a shift in the balance of power for whoever manages to mine it first. The US Government try and keep this to themselves, but good news travels fast and soon the race is on between nations, corporations, and moguls like billionaire Bill Barron, to make the most of this rare chance at worldly wealth.
Atom agrees to 17 months of training against his better judgement to be part of the nine man crew sent from NASA to claim its stake, and he soon regrets it. The team arrive to find the Chinese have beaten them to it, but that still doesn’t explain the presence of caves, which upon further investigation leads them to the discovery of the asteroid’s original miners. And they’re not human. The crew, however, don't seem taken aback at all upon witnessing what I assume is humanity's first encounter with extraterrestrials.
With a tale that is part Armageddon and part Aliens, surprises are few and far between. By issue’s end, one crew member is dead, and the team’s ship has been mysteriously sabotaged, leaving them stranded. Sci-fi fans will see those twists coming a mile away, but keeping in mind that this is the set-up issue, more genuine surprises must be on their way over the next few instalments. There is certainly enough here to make an interesting story, but one that will undoubtedly pay off in the coming months.
Badower’s art has a subtle Steve McNiven (Marvel’s Civil War mini-series) flavour to it, using few lines but much realism. It fits well and the costume design and facial expressions are diverse enough to easily keep track of the large cast. However, if you’re still stuck, the last few pages of this 36 pager include a handy guide. Annette Kwok’s colours are pitch perfect from earth to space, and she manages to make Badower’s pencils even more majestic on the asteroid setting. It’s a mighty fine looking hunk of drifting minerals and looks like a scary alien place to be, as I’m sure the cast will discover in the next three issues.
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