Boy Zero: Volume One [Part Four]



BoyZero32Positively disturbing in both its creepy exploration of Detective Drekker’s investigation into a “female… attempted rape” and subsequent depiction of young Dill’s truly horrific homicide whilst the bespectacled adolescent is busy watching “Day of the Chicken, or something like that” on television, Charles Chester’s narrative for Chapter Four of “Boy Zero” must have made many perusers of his graphic novel continually look up from reading this publication in nervous anticipation that they might not be safely alone. Indeed, despite not containing any dynamically-arrayed action sequence as such, “Perspectives” still proves to be an incredibly pulse-pounding experience, which simply doesn’t stop over-exciting its audience’s collective heartbeat until after Kip Russell and his partner have left Mister Morty Stevens’ interrogation so as to thwart an unknown madman’s attempt to rain bodies “upon the streets of Glass City” and then “burn and crumble” the city itself.

Much of this perpetual sense of menace debatably originates from any confidence this comic’s onlookers had in its lead character’s ability as a competent investigator being increasingly eroded by the thoughts and feelings of the supporting cast, starting with the Mayor expecting the portly sleuth “to sign off on that report yesterday” and culminating in the aged man’s inability to believe a Pet Shop owner who clearly knows far more about “the killings of nine citizens of Glass City, as well as the attempted murder of one Joan Hagen” than the grizzled cop gives the elderly gentleman credit for. Admittedly, there’s still plenty of evidence to suggest that Nigel is still a very capable policeman, and certainly better suited to capture the metropolis’ mass-murderer than his much younger colleague. But such undermining seeds of doubt are continually sown throughout the overweight detective’s day-to-day dealings, and resultantly provides every sequence with the palpable edginess that at any moment another monstrous mutilation may occur.

Shiloh Penfield’s prodigious pencilling undeniably adds to this tale’s unambiguous atmosphere full of foreboding dread, and it is very clear just why Chester “immediately took to her style” when he first saw the illustrator’s submission; “As far as the story went, she just got it.” In fact, the one-time “Red Knight” guest artist’s storyboarding of tiny Dill’s gruesome demise is all the more spine-chillingly terrifying due to her marvellous sense of theatrical timing as the transmission of the boy’s “bad sci-fi movie” is suddenly cut short and the bemused lad pulls his glasses back on just in time to see the dreadful death fate has in store for him.

For more details on Charles Chester’s “Boy Zero” graphic novel please visit its “Face Book” page.

This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.


Reviewed by
For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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