Valiant Entertainment 2016
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Francis Portela
Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
Keisha Thomas, a high school student in Rook, Michigan, a failing city-turned technological wonderland thanks to the diligent if mysterious work of corporate concerns and government interests, has a problem - her boyfriend Stephen died in a mysterious accident shortly after he dared to publicly question the town’s business. Her father, the town sheriff, tells her Stephen’s death was an accident. Her autistic brother, Kwame, is constantly talking about “The Cornermen” - strange creatures he’s seen in visions. Knowing there’s few people she can truly talk to, she calls out to Generation Zero for help.
It’s bad enough being in high school and trying to find yourself and your way. Harder still when you’ve had to pick up and move from another city. Then of course when your father is the Sheriff well let’s keep compounding things shall we. Fred does too because her new friends are the teenage Psiots known as Generation Zero and they’ve come to town to help figure out who killed her boyfriend and infuriate dear old dad! I’ve got to hand it to Fred for not only writing two issues of introduction so far to wildly interesting story but for being able to portray the way high school kids should be portrayed, thus far.
This issue is less seeing the cornermen and more storytelling and characterisation. It’s a chance for us to meet a few more members of Generation Zero as well as learn more about Keisha. It does serve a dual purpose as the kids have to settle in and blend in with the town as well as start looking into what’s going on here. They already know something’s up, I mean they’ve seen the Cornermen themselves now it’s going to be about doing some investigative work about who, what and why they are there.
Francis is one of those artists whose work is always amazingly on point. His attention to detail and use of backgrounds continue to thrill me. His eye for storytelling using page layouts with angles and perspective really control the flow of the story incredibly well. He’s able to really able to bring such great emotion to the page through facial expressions and body language here to fill in how the characters are feeling and the right mood and tone they give off. The twins for example scream American Horror Story creepy and they know it and relish in it and it’s little things like that which he brings to the series that makes it so enjoyable.
So far this series is off to an excellent start and is redefining the younger generation of Psiots that are running around the Valiant Universe. Not the Harbingers and definitely wanting to stay off Harada and everyone else’s radar they bring a new dimension to the line of books that is inviting for folks who are teenagers and up.
I look forward to watching this series develop and grow under Fred. Already it’s living up to the hype’s promise.