Boy Zero: Volume One [Part Two]

8

Great

BoyZero8Firmly fixing its sights upon the events occurring inside “a small neighbourhood, built for the workers of the factories” just outside the limits of Glass City, rather than depicting the corpulent Detective Nigel Drekker solving another bloody slaying, Chapter Two of “Boy Zero” undeniably delivers a far less pulse-pounding plot than its preceding instalment with its dark depiction of the day when “a moving van approached House Twenty Two” and “brought with it the Marshall Family.” Yet such a change in subject matter and pace certainly doesn’t mean that Charles Chester hasn’t penned a tale equally as shockingly spine-chilling and disturbing as that encountered within “The Ember Rose”.

Indeed, Edmund’s childhood memories of a time when two of his friends were literally torn in half (supposedly) by their father whilst sleeping in their beds, must have kept many of this graphic novel’s readers awake well into the night, especially as the “award winning” filmmaker’s text repeatedly insinuates that the mysterious Christian is in all likelihood actually at the centre of the horrific happenings and may well be this tension-filled tome’s Boogeyman; “And when night fell the half dreaming boy would often wander about the neighbourhood like a wraith, peering into the homes of his neighbours as if he couldn’t be seen.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the portly policeman is completely omitted from this twenty-four page phase of Chester’s enthralling narrative, as Drekker patiently plies a now adult Edmund with food in order to illicit the ashen-faced youth’s memories of his sister and how she dealt “with all the death surrounding her.” But such an intrusion upon this segment’s story-telling is fleeting, with the detective’s presence being largely left to the shadows so this book’s audience can watch in mounting dread as tiny, fresh-faced Paulette is found to be missing from her bed during the dead of night at the same time as “Boy Zero” is depicted stalking the local cemetery crying…

Adding to this episode’s aura of all-pervading doom and despair is Shiloh Penfield’s arguably angular pencilling, which imbues each character with a physical awkwardness that really lends itself to the disagreeability of this tale’s gory subject matter. Doe-eyed and grim-faced, the artist’s sketching style almost paints each of Charles’ characters as hapless puppets, who are woodenly walking towards some truly horrific fate from which there is absolutely no hope of escape or redemption.

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8

Great

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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