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Zed #1-6 Review

Michel Gagne is nuts,” begins Brad Bird in the introduction to the first volume of Zed, a fast-paced tale about a little Alien with a heart of gold and the weight of the cosmos on his shoulders. Zed’s universe is vividly imagined; its inhabitants – including Zed himself – quirky and charming.

Volume one of Zed collects issues 1-4 and sets the stage for an intergalactic showdown between Zed and the evil Maxuss. We begin with Zed traveling to Xandria, a peaceful planet overflowing with culture, to receive the Nob-L award for his invention, the Energizer, a machine that has the ability to provide an abundant, and cheap energy source for everyone. At this particular presentation of the Nob-L awards the Hierarchy of the Galaxy is present along with Krah, the loudest rock band in the universe. With billions of billions of eyes on Zed this is indeed an important moment for him.

Everything goes wrong. Horribly wrong. Tragically, Shakespearian, wrong.
In later issues we learn that Maxuss felt threatened by Zed’s creation because of economic reasons; as the Minister of planet Metalia and the largest stock holder of Asker, Metalia’s largest fuel corporation, he had every reason to fear Zed’s Energizer. Indeed Maxuss believed the Energizer would certainly mean the economic collapse of his planet. Of course, he’s also really evil and has aspirations of intergalactic domination – but hey, who doesn’t?
Despite the destruction, Zed remains an enjoyable – I’d even say heartwarming – read. Gagne’s cartoon-like style of art works to his advantage and preserves the charm of the book, even when violent moments take place. And then there’s Zed: the little guy just doesn’t give up despite the vast hardships he faces, including the loss of loved ones and a near-death experience
I can’t say for sure, but Gagne may very well be nuts. His wide body of works includes not only Zed but fan favorites Flight and Parables: offbeat books that will “entertain and delight” us as only Michel Gagne can. I feel I should also mention he had a hand in films such as The Iron Giant and Star Wars: The Clone Wars Animated Series – quiet a talented man, he is.
Volume one of Zed is out now, as are issues five and six. You can expect issue seven sometime in May.
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