Generation Zero #1

They are psiots – people born with the potential for incredible abilities of the mind. They were captured and trained by sinister corporate forces to become killing machines. They became one of the youngest strike forces on the planet.  They broke free of their masters and, inspired by the heroism of their fellow  psiots, the Harbinger Renegades, struck out on their own to make the world  a better place. They will help you – if your cause is just. They are…Generation Zero!

Generation Zero is, if I may use the vernacular, “totes adorbs”. By which I mean, I hated it.

Before I tear this thing a new body piercing, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way. The linework is competent, but the slick coloring coats everything in Saran Wrap. The dialogue is…well, that dovetails with my other complaints, so we’ll save it for later. The layouts are okay, and the action scenes – such as there are – are decently executed. In other words, nothing really noteworthy; mostly it just looks like an also-ran Valiant comic, which it is.

Now for the savaging.

If there’s one thing I – and pretty much everyone on this earth – cannot stand, it’s a franchise pandering to youth. This comic was obviously written by bright-eyed forty-year-olds (who I imagine dress half their age, piercings included) who think they “get” young people, and want to write a comic aimed at this particular group. I’m not even that young, and I cringe in sympathy. It’s an obvious, odious Marketing 101 scheme. The whole “outsider” angle is pretty horrific in this pile of warm goo masquerading as a comic; the characters who dress weird (and are therefore “relatable” by the “target demographic”) are set up as the underdogs, even though they are obviously as rich and suburban as the Normals. The protagonist is an unlikeable, whiny McPunk (what does “punk” mean anymore?), and I honestly didn’t care about her dead boyfriend. I couldn’t care about any of her problems. She just wasn’t relatable. I don’t know who might possibly relate to her, except a mushroom.

And the dialogue? No one talks like that. Not even ironically. Or do they? Is there some world where they do? We need to send our entire nuclear arsenal to that world immediately. It might even be our world…I’ll inform the president.

I get what Valiant is trying to do here, however cynically they go about it. Their current crop of titles are based off a universe developed for young males in the 90’s; the stories have a certain detached quality which, while I certainly like them, may not be attractive to a younger crowd. But the ham-handed way in which they go about trying to reach a new generation of readers is extremely counterproductive; even an uncynical comics enthusiast could detect the stench of target marketing pouring off this thing from a mile away.

In all fairness, Generation Zero does have a couple of neat ideas. I was oddly gratified that the creators spun a Flint-type situation into the setting; not something to be proud of, obviously, but the Michigander in me had to smile. The idea of a “hero message board”, where desperate types pour out their troubles to a mostly silent group of superbeings, was clever and poignant…I wish they’d expand on this. Unfortunately, GZ tends to gloss over these interesting bits. Apparently they weren’t part of the marketing plan.

I think the title, in extrapolation, says everything you need to know about this comic: Generation – as in, generated by marketing analysis. Zero – as in, the amount of patience I have with this comic.

Final Verdict: 1 out of 5.

Generation Zero #1 can be found at Valiant Entertainment.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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