Current Reviews

Zed - June/July 2002
Zed #1-3
Gagne International Press
By Michel Gagne
$2.50 - $3.50

Story
Art
Intangibles
Overall
Poor Zed. He just blew up a planet.

So begins creator Michel Gagne's sci-fi epic, "Zed." The title character is an adorable antennae-sporting inventor whose greatest creation wipes out the galaxy's most advanced planet - and most of its high-level politicians and great minds - during a ceremony in which Zed was a nominee for the coveted Nob-L prize.

Gagne's artwork is lovely and imaginative - a sort of mildly violent Dr. Seuss. With aliens. The aliens come in all forms - animal, mineral, vegetable and "what IS that?" - and range from cute and cuddly to, well, creepy. They're like escapees from the Henson Creature Shop. Y'know, the Muppets that gave you nightmares.

Gagne has also done a magnificent job of bringing black-and-white to life. He uses a lush range of greys so intense and varying that one almost forgets the absence of color.

Zed is an appealing hero; he's tiny, cute and cuddly, but essentially a proactive and determined to right his wrongs.

The villains are - well, let's just say that if this were on television, the baddies might require the presence of grown-up protection. They're scary. And they are leading a full-scale invasion to get Zed for what he's done.

It's a bizarre, and quite clever juxtaposition: we know Zed is the hero, yet he has, though accidentally, committed a sort of genocide. We hope he escapes from these scary villains, but does he really deserve to go free?

Ah, but the real question is: how did his invention, which was supposed to be a beneficial source of energy, end up wiping out an entire planet? And just why is the man - uh, alien - leading his pursuit, Maxuss, so darned enthusiastic?

We shall soon see. The final act has yet to begin.

The artwork is also gorgeous enough to distract from the book's slightly hokey dialogue. The cardinal sin of Exposition Through Dialogue is committed fairly regularly, which is too bad because Gagne's characters are so fantastically expressive, there is little need for things to be verbally explained.

Overall, "Zed" is an impressive little book, a straightforward, eye-catching sci-fi yarn worth picking up. Gagne is a wonderful talent, and, well, Zed's too darn cute. Let's hope everything turns out well for the little guy.

"Zed" is a 4-issue mini-series through Gagne International Press. Issues 1-3 are in stores now.

Shop Reorders for Zed are available through Diamond, Last Gasp, FM International and Cold Cut Distributors. It is also available through their website http://www.gagneint.com/

-- Matthew J. Phillion

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Copyright 2002 Rorschach Entertainment and/or its contributors.