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