Review: Zaya

If you haven’t noticed I’ve been following Magnetic Press’ releases pretty closely. In particular I’ve become a fan of JD Morvan’s, but since I’m relatively new to his work I’m still getting a feel of what to expect. So far each story has been very different from the previous and that definitely continues here with Zaya. I will say that Morvan likes his leads to be female characters and considering how badass he makes them… I’m okay with it. When we meet Zaya she’s at her art exhibit in which the wealthy are looking at her holo-sculptures and buying them for of course ridiculous prices. That is until a scene breaks out with a drunken dude giving a waiter shit. The waiter is trying to cut him off because he’s well past tipsy, but the entitled douchebag lays into the waiter. Zaya catches wind of the disturbance and asks the drunken man to leave and instead he tries to deck the waiter. Zaya steps in and grabs his arm offers him two choices walk out on his own or she’ll make him crawl. Clearly… Zaya is not just an artist.

After that we see her wake up in bed with the waiter and I thought that was pretty perfect. The thing is if we switched the gender of Zaya and the waiter then you would have expected the male hero to bed the female damsel, but here it was the female hero and the male damsel. I liked that Morvan didn’t feel the need to change that encounter just because of the main character’s gender.

The story moves away from Zaya for a moment as we find a well-dressed family driving down the highway and everything seems normal… until the wife/mom takes a bullet in the face. Suddenly the car is being shot up until it crashes. Only the husband lives and he’s quick to abandon his family. We meet our killer who is geared up in a crazy futuristic kill suit. A game of cat and mouse begins between the two, but the consequences of the scene have huge effects on the plot.

Back on Zaya’s side of the story we get a glimpse of what her normal life looks like as she picks up her twin daughters from school and works on her holo-sculptures. Her normalcy is interrupted by a message from her former boss. They’ve been the target of our crazy kill suit guy and they’ve called her out of reserves. The employer is like a crime syndicate, but one that runs more like the CIA than the mafia. Zaya’s sister comes over and to watch the girls why she heads out to do the mission she’s been called to do.

Zaya CoverThe first thing to talk about is the artwork for this story. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen in comics. It is the perfect blend between Asian and European style. I mean that, perfect blend. This book is gorgeous to look at and the action is again unlike anything I’ve seen. When the wife/mom catches the bullet in the head it really looks like a futuristic weapon being shot. The rest of the story follows suit as it is extremely futuristic, but I couldn’t compare it to anything else out there. I’m sure Moebius comes up a lot, but in my opinion only in the slightest of aspects, but nothing consistently scream Moebius to me.

The character designs are wonderful as well. There’s a huge variety of them from beautiful to average and of course ugly. It resembles the real world for sure. Huang-Jia Wei’s female form reminded me a lot of the Italian style and again is that perfect blend of Asian and European style. You will find yourself just looking at this book over and over. If the future looks like the world of Zaya then you can count me in.

I don’t want to tell you the twist of the story or even what it reminded me of because it’ll ruin the story for you. It’s also kind of the selling point though, trust me and check it out. I will say that Morvan manages to create a futuristic world unlike any I’ve read before and he really makes it a world. This isn’t just a futuristic location, but our world in the future and you know what? We make it. That’s right this isn’t the brimstone and death future, but one in which the class system is exaggerated to its fullest and sometimes your best chance at having a future is to work for evil people. The narrative is strong, the pacing is spot on and the concept is bloody brilliant.

You should keep your eyes out for both creators, but more so you should read Zaya. It’s one of the most interesting and well executed science fiction comics I’ve ever read. Magnetic Press has another hit on their hands.

Score: 5/5

Writer: JD Morvan Artist: Huang-Jia Wei Publisher: Magnetic Press Price: $29.99 Release Date: 8/20/14 Format: OGN, Hardcover