A zombie tale in today’s world is an interesting read. It’s hard to not read the story and think the pandemic happening around us. Year Zero #1 releases as comics returns from their break due to COVID-19 and it’s a slow roll of a zombie tale, which might have helped it in some ways.
Written by Benjamin Percy, Year Zero #1 introduces us to individuals around the world in what seems like the initial outbreak of zombies. We’re not quite sure as most of what’s happening is off-camera. We see the aftermath such as bodies or the smoke and fire but the zombie reveal doesn’t really happen until the very end.
In a way, this approach saves the comic in that the reader is distracted by focusing on each individual’s story but also left pondering what exactly is going on. The concept of the infection spreading isn’t present and in your face so that it’s not quite as reflective as to the real world. The mystery acts as a distraction in this case instead of being distracted by the real world news.
But, things not happening clearly also works against the first issue as well. It’s a slow start juggling numerous characters across the world as they deal with what’s going on. There’s some action but there’s a lack of shocks and wildly different situations which makes the tone and pacing uneven at times. There might have been more success by focusing on fewer characters with more story in the first couple of issues but as is things feel a bit dragged out. The characters too never quite stand out as interesting, instead, they all fall into stereotypes we’ve seen before.
The art by Ramon Rosanas is interesting. With color by Lee Loughridge and lettering by Sal Cipriano, there’s a challenge of featuring so many different parts of the world. There’s some fantastic art such as a Day of the Dead celebration with lots of costumes and interesting design. But, then that’s compared to an assassin in Japan where the detail is a bit more sparse but what’s shown sets up what’s to come and tells us a bit more about the character. The bouncing around of the settings creates an interesting comparison of how each comes off compared to each other.
The issue is a bit of an uneven start. It’s a very slow start and there might be too many different characters introduced. Possibly a quicker pacing may have helped but as is, Year Zero #1 is a bit boring. I want to check out the second issue but the first is a bit of a slog. Zombie fans may dig it but “the meat” isn’t gotten to and instead the issue is all character setup. That’s needed but as done it doesn’t quite work.
Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Ramon Rosanas
Color: Lee Loughridge Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review