Written by: Sean Kelley McKeever
Art by: Alexandre Tefenkgi
Published by: Image Comics
Reviewed by: Simon “BlaxKleric” Moore
In many ways it’s hard to imagine that seven years before this title saw print, Sean Kelley McKeever’s external pitches had dried up at “Marvel Worldwide” and that despite “DC Comics” “just launching the New 52” the California-based publisher “didn’t have any openings” for him. Admittedly, the Appleton-born writer’s narrative for this “oversized debut issue” doesn’t contain any super-powered heroes and villains, or actually anyone even slightly outside the accepted Homo sapiens norm. But it does include a thoroughly engrossing script which quite beautifully depicts the inhabitants of “the smallest town in the universe”, and all their emotional insecurities as they go about their daily routines of working the land, visit “the fights every Friday night” and “tuck their children into bed”.
Needless to say, “Outpost Zero” is admittedly located “on a frozen world never meant to support human life” and resultantly spends the best part of its formidable page count, portraying the adults as arguably mindless drones who, for better or worse, have set aside their own personal aspirations in order to serve the larger community. Yet even this seemingly endless carousel of educationalists, low-level workers, engineers and civilian administrators somehow manages to enthral any reader who can stomach a storyline which essentially revolves around the lifestyles and desires of a handful of young teenagers.
However, just as this “Little House on the Prairie” in space does finally start to peter out in both pace and interest, the discovery of an all-too imminent, civilisation-level threatening electrical storm, swiftly injects the Eisner Award-winner’s treatment with plenty of pulse-pounding pizzazz. Indeed, the potentially lethal plot twist genuinely imbues all the characters which the American author has so patiently painted a detailed background to with a startling amount of dynamic energy, and only the most superfluous of bibliophiles won’t be caught up in all the excited activity of the stranded colony’s final three and a half hours as it prepares for the inevitable assault upon its dome and life-giving apparatus.
Somewhat as successful as McKeever’s soul-searching story-telling, is Alexandre Tefenkgi’s competent, almost cartoon-like, artwork. Considering just how many individuals feature within this publication’s cast, it’s incredible to see how unique-looking the “Skybound Entertainment” artist makes each person’s facial details appear, whilst few within this comic book’s audience could surely suppress an involuntary shudder when the settlement’s discovery team venture outside in the cold, arctic tundra; “I feel good about this spot. We’ll find something. Solid ground, signs of life…”
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