By Sam King
Outpost Zero is a new science fiction comic published by Image Comics. The first issue is highly intriguing, and it raises a lot of questions. So far, it seems like it has a lot of growing potential and a varied cast to keep things interesting. This is one I will definitely be keeping an eye open for in the future.
Outpost Zero seems to be a colony town inside a dome, on a frozen planet. It is a small city. The main characters so far seem to be the teens who are about to enter adulthood. At Outpost Zero, when teens come of age, they take an aptitude test that will tell them what their role will be in the future. Some of the kids already have aspirations for what role they want to take. Some want to follow in their parents’ footsteps, while others seem willing to roll with whatever their test result says. Alea, who appears to be the main character we will be following, wants to be part of Discovery Team like her parents. They leave the dome and run tests about the planet to see what is out there. Alea says she wants people to “thrive” instead of merely survive, as others seem okay doing.
Alea has several friends and some acquaintances who are each different. Steven aspires to be part of engineering team like his dad. He and Alea seem to have some chemistry, but they clearly have differing viewpoints on life. Sam is not really a friend, but he talks to Steven and may play an important role in the future. He lost his parents and was adopted by the colony leader. He seems to be reclusive and may hold information that will progress the story later. Mitchell is another youth, but he is rather obnoxious. I don’t like bullies, and that is exactly what Mitchell seems to be. Hopefully, he ends up being more intriguing as the story progresses. Lyss is Alea’s friend, and her parents are doctors/medical staff. Lyss is the first to receive her aptitude assignment it seems, and it causes some conflict involving her parents. She seems rather level-headed and ready to roll with whatever happens, not having specific aspirations like her friends. There is another character we have yet to see, who is a twin to Mitchell and is only briefly mentioned in passing.
I like the art of this comic. It was done by Alexandre Tefenkgi (Harley Quinn and her Gang of Harleys) with color by Jean-Francois Beaulieu (I Hate Fairyland & Mother Panic). I am not familiar with the work of either yet, but I am definitely intrigued based on this debut issue. The art is not revolutionary, but it is smooth and youthful, while still keeping a mature feel. It is not overly cartoony or too realistic in a way that would make it less youthful. It fits the tone, and the story has just the right blend of both youth and maturity, for each element to mesh and harmonize satisfyingly.
This is an oversized debut issue, so it is double the length of a standard issue. I am really glad it was because the length provided the perfect amount of room to set up a strong idea, provide a few good characters to latch onto, and leave just enough suspense at the end. The pacing of this issue is really good, and I was definitely impressed with how much, yet how little, is packed into it. We see young aspirations and get a handful of characters, as well as lots of conflict, all within one small domed town.
This comic ends on a massive cliffhanger and I have no idea what is going to happen. This is a fantastic start since the story is familiar, but the world is different enough to make things unpredictable for me at this point. I don’t feel like we have enough information to definitively say how that cliffhanger will turn out. It could end very badly and open up possibilities for hidden secrets to be revealed, or something incredible could happen that shifts the scales in a way no one within the story expects. I have no clue, and I am loving being clueless. This story gripped me, and I can honestly say I’m psyched to see what comes next. I hope it doesn’t end up letting me down.
Outpost Zero #1