Zero is coming. War’s always been here.
The next offering from the wildly inventive Ales Kot (CHANGE, Suicide Squad), ZERO is a meditation on war within and throughout. Set in a chillingly not-so-distant future, ZERO chronicles a young man conditioned to kill and his efforts to secure peace in a world that simply won’t have it. Each issue is colored by Jordie Bellaire, but those lines come courtesy of an impressive array of artists starting with Michael Walsh (Comeback).
story ALES KOT
art MICHAEL WALSH & JORDIE BELLAIRE
cover A MICHAEL WALSH & TOM MULLER
cover B BECKY CLOONAN
cover C CHRIS BURNHAM
32 PAGES / FC / M
SAVING THE WORLD. ONE MURDER AT A TIME.
Edward Zero is the perfect execution machine – a spy who breaks the rules to get things done. When a stolen device appears in the center of a long-running conflict, Zero comes to retrieve it. The problem is, the device is inside a living, breathing, bio-modified terrorist and there’s an entire army after it.
We spoke to writer Ales Kot about war in the countdown to ZERO.
iFanboy: Zero can be an innocuous, arbitrary name for character. Other times, it’s fully loaded. Tell us about your guy.
Ales Kot: Edward Zero is a special agent; a spy; a thug. He works for the Agency and the Agency influences worldwide events in order to keep peace – that is how it has been presented to him and other recruits since his handler, Zizek, brought him in.
Edward Zero killed his first man on 2nd December 2001 in Belfast. He was nine years old; he was already working for the Agency.
Edward Zero is bleak male force personified; an extremely efficient product of his environment, psychopathic and creative when it comes to ways of solving problems, and the problems usually involve stealing things and killing people.
His name means more than is initially shown.
iF: It’s the future. What’s the same? What’s different? Which is more important?
AK: ZERO begins in 2018; certain conflicts rage on, the global warming is still with us, there is an ongoing dialog between freedom of privacy and government-sanctioned spying on private citizens.
Biotechnology is taking off; 3d printers are taking off. Medical progress is impressive, yet ordinary cures and services are still hard to attain. There is a growth of resilient, self-sustainable communities.
Drones roam the airspace and there’s more of them than ever before. Many governments and organizations still operate as criminal conspiracies, shielding themselves behind the laws they create and influence.
iF: You’re working with several artists on this. Can you speak to what the first few of them bring to this story?
AK: ZERO is an ongoing container series; this means each issue stands on its own, each issue one mission of Edward Zero, each issue drawn by a different artist. All issues also come together as one big story that takes us from 2018 to 2038.
What every artist working on ZERO has before they come on board is great understanding of clarity, character, atmosphere, mise en scene. Each artist I work with is someone I consider a worthy, committed creator who understands their work, aims to evolve and loves comics as an art form.
Michael Walsh draws #1; his style is visceral noir, controlled and creative. He instinctively understands how to create impact within a war zone.
Mateus Santolouco draws #2, set in Shanghai; his work is lush, flamboyant in its line and inks, and therefore very appropriate for depicting what is essentially a Kickstarter party for terrorists that Zero crashes in disguise.
Morgan Jeske, my collaborator on “Change”, draws #3, set in Rio; it’s a meeting between the old and the new, a meeting between Zero and an operative who quit the Agency a long time ago. The issue can be easily cut into two interconnected parts and Morgan is a style chameleon who fuses them together by organically moving between traditional, tense layouts and the more explosive second half.
Tradd Moore draws #4, set in Belfast; his style fuses exaggeration with realism and is therefore perfect for depicting what was Zero’s first mission.
iF: Why did you want to tell this story?
AK: I am interested in the culture of war that permeates the world at the moment, be it large-scale wars or the ones we keep inside ourselves.
I have seen first hand what kind of damage war inflicts on people, and how often the wounds become obscured as the decades progress, often through many generations. Nevertheless, the wounds are still alive within unless they are understood and healed.
ZERO is my observation and investigation of the war meme. It’s a meditation on genetics, on nature, on nurture. It uses the existing storytelling tropes of spy stories, action thrillers and speculative fiction to explore new possibilities within them.
War as a disease; war fiction as a healthy release.