by Randy Lander

ZED #6
by Michel Gagne (Gagne International Press)

Zed #6 by Michel GagneThe latest issue of Zed points up the biggest assets and detriments of the series quite well. There's a lot more in the assets column, which includes Gagne's trippy and beautiful art, a strange tone that mixes all-ages and surprisingly dark material and a crazy science-fiction premise that reads like the kind of thing Kirby might have come up with. In this latest issue, Zed awakes from his encounter with God, comes to find that he's been asleep for 10 years, encounters his uncle (it doesn't end well), faces off with his arch-nemesis (that doesn't go so well either) and basically bounces around like a pinball, trapped in a world where evil has seemingly triumphed with his unwitting help. It's a madcap, wide-ranging plot that also includes an intergalactic band as the last rebellion against a cruel tyrant, and while it could easily have been too unfocused, it is actually very easy to keep up and enjoy Gagne's strange flights of fancy. Except... the overall story isn't as easy to keep track of. The roughly annual publication schedule means that by the time the latest issue has come out, I've forgotten what went before, and a recap of some sort would really help the book out. There's also a weird cognitive dissonance between Gagne's wild-eyed wondrous tone and the absolutely bleak darkness and violence that has included the destruction of Zed's home planet and the casual maiming of his only real friend in this issue. Perhaps in the long view he'll look more heroic, but now the poor guy just looks long-suffering.

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