Zenith Phase 1: The Apex Edition

Berlin, 1945: The allies unleashed the Second World War hero Maximan upon the German supersoldier Masterman. Maximan’s defeat was only kept secret by the nuclear bomb which destroyed both men. Forty-plus years later, and twenty years after a generation of ’60s British super-powered heroes came and went, the teenage pop star Zenith is the only superhuman left – and his only interest in women, drugs, alchohol and fame.

So when he is contacted about the threat from the many-angled ones and the impending destruction of our world, his first reaction is to steer well clear. But the superhumans of the past have other plans…

The Apex Edition is a full size reproduction of the original artwork from Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell’s seminal superhero story from the late 1980s. Carefully hidden away by Yeowell for almost 30 years and curated by 2000 AD’s design team, the Apex Edition will be the closest readers can get to holding the original artwork in your hands – right down to seeing faded speech balloons pasted to the surface, editorial and design marks, and Yeowell’s brush and pen strokes.

Even though I grew up in the 80’s, I definitely wasn’t old enough to be reading comics more advanced than the Sunday funnies. Later in life I find myself catching up on a lot of titles I’ve missed throughout the years. Now with the reproduction version of Zenith Phase 1: The Apex Edition, I was able to experience a choice title from one of the greats, Grant Morrison.

While the rest of the fighting was going on during World War II, the Allies answered the German’s supersoldier Masterman with their own superpowered Maximan. The two were ultimately both taken out by a nuclear bomb, and over the next four decades more superheroes rose and fell. Our present day story shows us with Zenith being the only superhuman around, although being a stereotypical rock star leaves him being less than super. He must soon come to grips with his responsibilities though, as a new yet very familiar supervillain has stepped out of the shadows. He can’t do this on his own and will end up getting the help of some unexpected fellow heroes.

Thirty years later the fantastic style of artwork that Steve Yeowell provided has more than stood the test of time. Flipping through each page is almost like sitting down with the original pieces instead of a printed comic. The art is simply magnificent, so bold and clean, and as strong as can be in black and white. The biggest downfall in my personal experience was reading it digitally, and nowhere near the size it should be read in.

After finishing this first volume of the Zenith story, I can see why it has been resurrected for this new edition. It probably goes without saying that the story by Grant Morrison is awesome, and again, Yeowell is just amazing with the art. If you never read this like me years ago, this is more than a perfect version to read it the first time now.

For more on Zenith or other 2000 AD titles, check out 2000 AD

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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