Devil’s Due/1First Comics 2015
Written by Steve Stern
Illustrated by Marat Mychaels
Coloured by Sean Forney
Lettered by Dexter Weeks
Zen has accepted the job of finding the notorious Quentin Palomar for a woman named Teela Morava. Her sister was the last in a long string of wealthy women who Palomar married, then murdered for their fortunes. And then he disappeared, evading authorities for years. Morava has only one proviso: Palomar must be brought to her alive. Zen has traced him to the pleasure planet Somalla….
The latest version of Zen continues here and I’m completely enthralled by it. This for me anyway is a different take on the classic character, much darker, brooding and filled with great humour. The opening is a great example of that, thanks to the dialogue and Marat and Sean’s work you get a menacing looking Chief Magistrate and a weary and no nonsense Zen having a cup of joe. Well it is great stuff since it not only sets up the issue makes you laugh at the same time.
This leads us to what you’d think was the meat of the story and in some ways it is though in others it’s not. I like the way that Steve is writing this story it’s got plenty of action and it’s a good showcase for not only Zen’s skills but also his mind and hunting abilities. Once Zen starts his interaction with Quicksilver it’s an eight page story of tracking, fighting and revealing of secrets. This is the kind of stuff that I can get behind it’s really well executed.
Marat is no stranger to portraying action sequences and the fight we get is wonderfully done. Though I’d like to have seen more backgrounds instead of the lines that represent movement but hey they fight fast and furious. Aside from the updated Zen I love his take on the alien species he’s getting to design. They have these looks that would fit into the Cantina scene in Star Wars. Plus his use of pages and panels to control the flow of the story are extremely well done. Sean does a great job finishing it all off with his colouring. The shading really helps evoke the right emotions from these alien faces.
The last eight pages are like a whole new story segment in itself. Granted it’s what leads into next issue but it’s so fun to see Zen try to sneak up on Palomar and find himself surrounded and expected. Not surprising considering, if you read this you’ll understand why but it’s expected but still surprising and that’s the way a story should be told.
Equal parts campy and serious this is a great melding of the past and present. Part of me longs for the Archie Zen while being completely thrilled by the prospect of this new scenario. Hardcore and all business this will appeal to older fans and have no trouble creating new ones who’ll devour it.