Zenescope Entertainment 2019
Written by Joe Brusha
Illustrated by Daniel Maine
Coloured by Jorge Cortes
Lettered by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios
As the War of the Grail wages, Merlin the Magician looks to give himself an advantage by using his deadliest assassin of all time to eliminate his biggest threats in the Order of Tarot. Logan Patrick O’Connell spent his adult life ridding the streets of drugs using his own deadly methods until a mistake drove him from his home in Belfast, Ireland. Once O’Connell met Merlin, his life was forever changed and he began on the path to vengeance. Thus, Zodiac was born.
This is firmly entrenched in the Zenescope Universe and if you don’t regularly read Grimm Fairy Tales then you may feel a little lost with this one. It is not quite as new reader friendly as I would’ve hoped it would be. The opening is one that does a nice job drawing the reader in as we see Logan Patrick talk about his outfit. In a very odd way I feel as if his outfit and such is too reminiscent of Deathstroke and I would have liked a different way of being introduced. If Merlin used the Grail to create this suit and it’s weapons I think that’s something that should’ve been focused on as the opening it would’ve been a better way of introducing new readers to the man and his suit.
The narration for the opening fight scene was good stuff. I like the one-sidedness of it as we don’t really hear much from the men in white suits. I will however say be careful because I understand the reasoning for seeing him use so many various options of the suit but the way he went from using one thing to another was haphazard and didn’t make sense to me. Just because we know it’s there doesn’t mean he has to use them all right away, they really should be used as the situation calls for it.
Later at the secret underground base of Tarot we see a report being made about what happened in the second half of the opening. Our Master or Mistress, leader of the Tarot has her own game in motion behind the backs of those who follow her. I am intrigued by this and look forward to learning more about her motives and machinations because there’s something off one’s trolley about what she’s up to. The characterisation here is okay, not great but okay and we get Logan Patrick’s catalyst for how he found killing, but I hope we get stronger development as the story moves on.
So the interiors here are another mixed bag o’ tricks for me. The characters and how they are brought to life and to see how the linework is utilised through it’s varying weights to create some stunning attention to detail is sensational to see. Now it would really help if this kind of attention were spent on the backgrounds here because by contrast they just lack in expanding the story or the moment the characters are in. So we can see the talent is here and the utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a strong eye for storytelling. I do like the colour work as well and how light sources create the shading, highlights and colour gradation, though the flames could use some tweaking. I will say using The Originals setting was a nice move.
I was both thrilled and disappointed that Mystere made an appearance. The former because I love her the latter because she wasn’t around long enough. It is the right choice however given their location I just wish we’d seen more of her. What this issue does however is hits all the right buttons and makes us want to know about Zodiac. Though if truth be told I was hoping he’d at least have a look that resembled the Black Knight’s after all if she can fight with that big cross he should be able to fight with a lot less armour.