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review 2019-08-25 15:03
Generation Zero: We Are the Future (graphic novel, vol. 1) written by Fred Van Lente, art by Francis Portela, Derek Charm, and Diego Bernard
Generation Zero Volume 1: We Are the Future - Fred Van Lente

Keisha Sherman desperately wants to find out the truth about what happened to her boyfriend, Stephen. He supposedly got drunk and died in a car crash, but she knows he wasn't the kind of guy to do that - he didn't drink, do drugs, or smoke. Since her dad, the local Sheriff, won't listen and thinks she's just in denial, Keisha turns to the only people she can think of: Generation Zero. She makes a desperate plea for their help...and they answer.

This was another graphic novel I requested via ILL after finding out about it while doing some research for a grant proposal. It was a 2017 Virginia Library Association Diversity Award Honor Book.

I can't recall the last time I read a Valiant series. Honestly, looking through their list of titles, it's possible I've never read a Valiant series. I certainly haven't read any of the Harbringer comics, which are apparently related to the Generation Zero comics somehow.

Although I could definitely tell that there was some backstory I was unaware of (I didn't realize until after I'd read the whole graphic novel that the description on the back cover included some useful info for complete newbies to this world, like me), I think I was able to follow along pretty well. The members of Generation Zero had originally been taken from their families and trained as weapons. Each of them had of them had special powers of some sort, and each of them dealt with their trauma and having their childhoods stolen from them in different ways.

Cronus (I'm not sure about his powers), who appeared to be the team's leader, wanted to do good. Telic (could see a little into the future), meanwhile, wanted Cronus to embrace the fact that they'd been trained to be weapons. Animalia (could give herself other forms, although I think it wasn't so much shapeshifting as crafting an illusion over herself), one of the group's youngest members, just wanted a life that was nice and good. Cloud (telepath) was the group's gentlest and most positive member, despite constantly being exposed to humanity's collective consciousness. The Zygos twins (super smart?) didn't seem to particularly like humans in general. I didn't really get much of a feel for Gamete, a super fetus who got around by controlling the body of her comatose mother like some sort of creepy puppet.

I wasn't really a fan of the artwork. Facial expressions were a bit stiff, and the artist(s) sometimes had trouble drawing the characters consistently. The female Zygos twin, for example, usually looked almost exactly like her brother, only with longer hair and very slightly more defined lips. In some panels, however, she was inexplicably drawn with more stereotypically feminine features: much more prominent lips and thicker eyelashes. It was weird. I did think the switch to Archie comics-style artwork during the "questioning Adele" portion was really effective, though.

This volume just scratched the surface of whatever was going on in Keisha's hometown, which involved weird faceless Cornermen, technology that shouldn't exist yet, and Momoo energy shakes. The characters were relatively interesting, but I don't know whether I'll be continuing on with this. If I do continue on: Keisha's autistic (?) brother just flat-out disappeared near the end of the volume, so here's hoping the writer doesn't forget about him and actually answers the question of where he went in the next volume.


Variant covers and a few examples of the artwork in progress (line art, and line art with some color applied but no shading).


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2015-11-09 12:07
Much better!
Witchblade Rebirth Volume 1 - Fred Benes,Diego Bernard,Tim Seeley

Tim Seeley, the author of this volume, was handed a steaming pile of BS: this is an AU based off Artifacts, in which Hope is the daughter of Jackie Estacado and Jenny, a woman who is supposed to be dead.  When the Top Cow universe died, Hope brought it back: she was a key, on which everything in that universe was held, and she could bring the universe back from death.  Recreate it, really.   But Jackie somehow warped that universe, taking Hope away from Sara.   


Except this all hinges on things that I object to.   Everything feels slightly off and the 'real' universe is still the one in which Sara was raped, and no one says shit about it except to make jokes about her dating her rapist.    A universe in which she did sleep with him again, and showed concern for him, which gets even more bizarre.   She's a cop, and he's a murderer entrenched in the mafia.  


And then he raped her while she was unconscious.   And the whole 'I didn't know, it was the Darkness' thing is just a cop out: it gives Jackie and Sara a reason (not a very good one, but a reason) for her to blow off the rape.


Seeley can't say, 'no, this isn't how it happened, this isn't the real universe.'   He has an event he's playing off, an event that are based on these facts.  Sara did have to deal with this at one point, in which she says she's allowing Jackie to keep his family despite what he's taken from her.   (Although at other points, she doesn't seem to remember Hope so I'm not sure if that's what she's talking about.)


For whatever reason, Seeley hasn't had to deal with Sara, Jackie and Hope yet.   However, he is writing Sara as pretty kickass, even after all the shit she's been through.   I'm hoping he continues to write her this way, although the whole Marz's run going downhill has me a bit skeptical.   For what it's worth, this reboot is good enough for me to continue with volume two for now. 


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