Z-Men is a balanced issue. There’s humor, there’s real politics and intense moments of human decisions at play. Decisions that you make in the heat of a moment that you sometimes wish you could get back. The title is an obvious play on G-Men, the term used for FBI agents. Instead of the FBI though we have Secret Service agents. The story begins at a road block in Pennsylvania. Some citizens have volunteered to do a road check and keep people from the main outbreak. Let’s just say that not everything is peaceful and our agents will end up here eventually. From there we go to the President as he deals with the events. Information is coming in at a rapid rate, but he wants eyes on it he can trust. He wants Secret Service men on the ground gathering information on what is and isn’t happening. There is a funny bit in which the Secret Service director says he’ll send his best men, but the President axes that saying he doesn’t want to get shot like his predecessor. Instead of the best, two agents from the motor pool are sent. Stuart is a bit green and clearly not moving up the ranks, while Clancy is a wild card. They head out after grabbing a lot of shotguns and ammo.
Clearly this is going to be a bit of a buddy cop story. There’s going to be humorous parts for the reader as Clancy goes off on everything and everybody, while the more down to earth Stuart will smooth things over. Likely they’ll both get into trouble because of their mouths though, which is something I’m looking forward to.
This perspective is pretty unique. I like that it wasn’t just FBI or CIA used, but rather a branch of the White House. It makes sense too because this isn’t a high tech age and so direct information from a trusted source is pretty key. One thing the story and universe as a whole does well is feed into that misinformation that was common before the internet age. There’s a decent introduction to our characters and I’m sure we’ll see more from them, but for right now they are architypes and that’s okay. It’s a fast introduction which is helpful to move the story forward. Hopefully we’ll get strong character moments from the two main characters in later issues.
The artwork is some of the best from Double Take. Each panel has a lot of background detail and the coloring is top notch as well. I hope that some of the weaker books in the line get this same amount of love in the future, but I understand that Z-Men is meant to be one of the top books. The art does a great job with the character expressions which adds personality to the title and the characters.
I won’t repost my paragraph in full from my other reviews, but I will say that I enjoy reading Double Take’s books in print. As someone who reviews books weekly, single issues in print have all but lost their luster for me. It’s not that I prefer digital, it’s just that there’s very little difference. It’s rarer and rarer to pick up a comic that has a great cover and paper inside that won’t bend and wrinkle at first touch. Valiant is basically the only other company that I feel produces good quality monthly issues. Sure Image has a few, but their overall publishing varies too much to give them a solid tip of the hat. It’s just fun to read a comic with ads again and here’s the other thing… I actually look at them. They’re like ads on Hulu. Sure I’ve seen them all before, but I’ll check them out each time they’re there because they’re in front of me.
I honestly didn’t think I would like Z-Men when I started reading it. It was one of the first I checked out of the ten first issues from Double Take and so I was still getting my barring on what to expect from this universe. After the first crack about sideburns though, I was pretty much sold on the balance of drama and humor. Just like life, you need that balance and for me Z-Men found it.
Z-Men #1 – “Nervous in the Service” Story: Jeff McComsey, Bill Jemas Script: Jeff McComsey Layouts/Pencils: Kurt Tiede Publisher: Double Take Comics Price: $2.50 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital