Firmly 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.