Writer: Sean Kelley McKeever / Artist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Alexandre Tefenkgi / Image Comics
Outpost Zero features a very well written and beautifully drawn world where people have set out to create a new life for humanity. To find a new place to call home. Our story focuses on a group that settled on an unforgiving sphere of ice and ruin. Walls could come down at any moment or their energy matrix could sputter out, equally doom. All of this is why Outpost Zero bravely spends it’s time showing the purest path one could take; striving for basic human decency, coexistence, and the hope that something positive will come to fruition.
One of the many things that Sean Kelley McKeever does well is give our main crew a proper introduction. We may not get equal panel time, but everyone gets a fair shake. You walk away feeling like you have a good picture of who our major players are and what they’re about.
Steven and Alea are two of our main characters, who appear to be of Asian descent. There’s a really nice dynamic between the two of them, and although there are no clear signs, we know they may become romantically linked one day. Alea’s clearly a genius, or straight up wiz with the mathematics (though her calculations were a bit off in one of the funnier and wondrous moments). Alea’s parents venture into the frigid wilderness early on and find something that’ll have you begging for Issue #2 to drop.
At a certain age, every young man or woman goes through their singularity to assess any particular aptitudes. They are placed on a particular team and live their remaining years serving a specific function meant to aid everyone while carrying out your duties of discovery and preservation. Lyss is the elder of our space odyssey rat pack. At 20, she goes through the singularity process and (like it or not) is placed on her specific team, cuz everyone’s gotta pull their own weight in the effort to keep humanity alive.
I love the realness of McKeever’s writing in this story. When the kids were doing what is essentially our high school version of sittin’ around the lunch table talkin’ shit about class, they discuss basically being told what to do for the rest of their lives and that ladies n gents, is what real life for a teen in this post-apocalyptic scenario looks like. Love the parallel.
Mitchell is welcome member of the bunch, even if his opinions are a bit presumptuous. Steven’s relationship with Sam, the “spineless” kid the squad is quite opinionated about, is the most interesting story we got though. The squad disagrees with the singularity decision to let him join the security team, but Steven seems to admire his intelligence and convos about potential life out there in the Frosty terrain and vast universe. They discuss their frustration with trying to send radio signals out into space. Just like our inability to fathom how Egyptian structures and devices came to be, they cant get the circuitry right. These kids being mad about their inability to make what their ancestors produced eons ago was a welcome little detail in the story.
Outpost Zero is a grounded yet cosmic comic filled with people of color (Thank Bast artists and creators are finally accepting the fact that individuals of every creed and color will populate the post-fossil fuel dependent future). There’s also a bit of wonder here for everyone. Engineers will appreciate the structural spectacle of how we sustain life. Explorers and survivalists will love the continuous search for humanity’s big break and feel right at home dissecting the uncompromising attitude of those tasked with discovering what could inhabit such harsh foreign lands and the expanse of deep space. The Frozen tundra is inherently terrifying, and you find yourself on edge every time someone ventures out into the Frost.
Jean-Francois Beaulieu and Alexandre Tefenkgi have created quite a gorgeous world for us to dive into, while Sean Kelley McKeever has written a smart, captivating tale about a conceivable future with plenty of intriguing storylines that beg to weaved. The cliffhanger we’re left with is a doozy. Outpost Zero is one comic you shouldn’t forget to pick when it drops on July 11th.
8 Imminent Event Protocols out of 10