Year Zero #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on April 15, 2020

Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colours: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Sal Cipriano

Year Zero #1 follows five distinctive characters going about their daily business while in the background there is something seriously wrong happening just off screen. Most of the comics focus is on introducing the characters, who are all interesting and have very well defined personalities, which come across really well. This is in part down to excellent writing and in part down to some clever choices from the art team.

It’s clear that Benjamin Percy has big plans for these characters. He’s taking his time introducing the characters and slowly ramping the tension up. There’s no rush to have zombie hordes roaming across the world. It’ll be interesting to see where he takes these characters and the story in the future. While this initial series might only be five issues it’s practically a given that there’ll be a follow up. Perhaps the title gives us a clue, will we have Year One next? Or time jump, Year Ten? Who knows? Whatever the plans for the future are though readers are sure to become invested in these characters and end up in this for the long haul.

It’s such an interesting set of characters, with such differing beliefs and attitudes, and locations around the globe, that sucks the reader into the story and doesn’t let up before the end of the comic. From the homeless kid in Mexico on the Day of the Dead, to the Japanese assassin in Tokyo, the American soldier in Afghanistan to the conspiracy nut in Minnesota. Topping all of this off is the Polar research scientist who’s story looks like it’ll be integral to explaining the zombie invasion.

When it comes to the zombies we barely see any. Most of the action appears in brief glimpses, off camera to both the reader and the characters. It works really effectively, Percy understands, like all the greatest horror movies, sometimes the imagination is better at building the tension than having it thrust in your face. It taps into that fear of the unknown.

Then we have Ramon Rosanas’ art. It’s not your standard horror fare, and this comic is better for it. It’s incredibly detailed, and so much of the story is conveyed in the more subtle details in his panels. It’s here we get some of the implied horror unfolding around our characters, and it’s just as key in introducing our characters as any of Percy’s writing. The level of detail in any single one of his panels is exceptional. The writer introduces each new location but this is unnecessary because Rosanas’ takes us there with his art.

Then there’s Lee Loughbridge’s colours. Each character has his own shade of colour, with every panel subetly shaded to distinguish between them all. It works really well to distinguish between the characters and locations. It doesn’t just do that but is also key to establishing the location, from the searing yellows in Afghanistan to the blinding whites in the Polar research station.

On a separate note I usually don’t comment on the covers. There are a number of reasons for this, but I’ll quote the old adage “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” as a primary reason. But I need to mention the absolutely gorgeous cover by Kaare Andrews. It’s stunning. It’s such an incredibly detailed, picturesque setting, with only a weaponised “zombie killer” caravan to give the reader a clue to what is going on in the comic.

A fantastic creative team combine to make this one a must read. Between Rosanas and Loughbridge’s artwork the final product doesn’t look like a typical horror comic. Percy’s writing doesn’t read like a typical horror comic. The slow build-up of tension without building to a crescendo by the end of the first issue doesn’t read like a typical horror comic. And Year Zero is so much better for all of this. By making it character driven rather than plot it makes for some interesting and exciting reading, which readers are sure to be drawn into. It’s early days for sure, but just like the rest of AWA’s current line-up, this looks to be another exceptional comic and one not to be missed.

Our Score:


A Look Inside