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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

on 24 April 2014
This is an amazing spy story and I don't really want to say to much as it's going to be best read going in, with as little information as you can have. it starts in the future, 2038, with an old man sitting in a chair looking out at the ocean from the top of a cliff, sipping a beer. He speaks to someone and we see a kid behind him with a gun pointed at the man's head ready to kill him. The man says he won't stop him but he'd like to tell him a story first and so goes the book. Going to the past, bionic super soldiers, killings, killers for hire, spies, murder, death, etc. It is violent, has its moments of empathy, though it left me without any feelings of high hopes, yet I want to know what will come next. It's dark, oppressive and filled with that lonliness you get in a crowd and I'm super eager to read what happens next. A thrilling, captivating first volume!
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on 13 February 2015
James Bond. George Smiley. Jason Bourne. Edward Zero? Nuh-uh. Although Ales Kot really wishes it were so, his spy/secret agent “character”, Zero, is as archetypical as they get - a bland, yes I’ll make the obvious pun, zero who never feels vaguely real or interesting. But he’s the “star” of this series so settle in for some generic spy stories in this first volume, An Emergency.

The subtitle is a good indicator of what’s wrong with this book. Kot thinks that by throwing in mindless action, showing car chases and gunfights and sex, all without context, that the reader will be enraptured with what they’re reading. It’s An Emergency, Kot says, willing the potential drama those words have as if that were enough - and it’s not.

Zero is telling his life story to a kid assassin pointing a gun at his head. The kid is sent from his old taskmasters, The Agency (oh, the imagination that must’ve gone into dreaming up that name!), who trained him up from a child into an adult killing machine. Um - why is the kid standing there waiting politely for Zero to tell his numerous boring stories? Why doesn’t he just pull the trigger and be done with the assignment - or, as we find out, why doesn’t the adult assassin, who accompanies all the kid assassins, do it for him if the kid can’t pull the trigger? Contrived much?

Zero’s stories are the most generic spy stories ever. He goes to Israel to kill some dude and steal some tech. He goes to Belfast to kill a former IRA terrorist. He goes to Asia to kill a wealthy enemy target. He goes to South America to kill a former spook with secrets. It’s always the same: Zero goes somewhere exotic and fights a bunch of people, killing them. How rote can you get?

Kot tries to add variety to his one-note stories by having a different artist draw a different issue but it doesn’t make them any better to read. The art however is the only positive thing I can say about this book. One of my favourite new artists, Tradd Moore, draws the IRA issue and it looks awesome. Check out his work on Luther Strode and All-New Ghost Rider for some high quality comics.

Morgan Jeske’s art in the South American escapade was noteworthy for carrying the entire issue. It’s almost entirely wordless with Zero and the target fighting and then driving through a densely populated urban environment at speed, and Jeske pulls off the sequences with style, showing a strong understanding of good action.

But really I didn’t mind any of the artists in this book, all of whom put in some great pages - Michael Walsh, Mateus Santolouco, and Will Tempest, who round out the artist roster for this first volume. And Jordie Bellaire’s colours are perfect as usual. The background panels in the Asian issue were coloured alternately yellow and red which for some reason I can’t fathom made it look so eye-catching and exciting - but then that’s why she’s the award-winning colourist and not me!

Kot dedicates the IRA issue to Garth Ennis, partly I’m sure because Ennis is from Northern Ireland, but probably because Kot is a fan, much like I am. There’s even a nod to the second volume of Preacher where Jesse Custer got locked up in a box and thrown to the bottom of a lake, as a kid - the exact same thing happens to Zero. Unfortunately, Kot’s writing is nowhere near Ennis’ standard.

There is no story to Zero Volume 1; it’s an episodic, unconnected blur of stories plucked from different points in Zero’s life without rhyme or reason. Worse, they’re all dull, cliche-ridden pap. The art might be good but it’s not reason enough to pick up this book. I read this tedious comic and felt as emotionless afterwards as Zero is trained up to be.
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on 26 March 2014
Fine series from Ales Kot, and we're only part way there yet.

A spy saga for the current century, other espionage and thriller series just fade in comparison. Tightly written and drawn by a fine rota of artists. If this is anything to go by, you should watch out for Kot's other work coming up elsewhere. I can see why Marvel have hired him for Secret Avengers on the back of this.
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on 29 November 2014
So, this was bought on spec based on me reading a couple of issues of Ales Kot's frustratingly short run on DCs Suicide Squad. In those comics I realised I'd found a writer with a good voice and an interesting take on the characters he was working with. I had no idea what to expect from 'Zero' and after reading the first volume I am far from disappointed. This is one of 'THE' books to be seen reading; it's cooler than cool, ice cold in fact.

Volume One collect the first five issues of the ongoing series and each issue is a self-contained story.To say too much about the story is to give it away completely and remove the pleasure of discovering it for the first time. What you get, though, is a mosaic that will, over-time, become more and more complex, losing you in the minutiae. Eventually, when there are enough tesserae you will be able to pull back and see the finished picture.

Do yourself a favour and buy this, read it and be swept along by it all.
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on 17 June 2014
I picked this up based on shop owners recommendation and I can see why. Multiple artists were used to depict different point in the characters life and they complemented the story. The story itself works through piecing together the characters life and leaving you more curious to unravel how he got to where he did. I really recommend it.
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on 23 November 2014
Ales Kot is a huge new talent in the field and this is arguably his best book. Intelligent, thought provoking, some amazing action set pieces all interspersed with black humour. Could not recommend more highly.
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on 16 March 2015
I've no idea where this is going, but i'm intrigued, especially by the beginning and the ending of the book. Vol.2 is a bit confusing and slower, but volume 3 picks up really well.
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on 28 December 2014
This book is part of an interesting modern phenomenon: it contains nothing of any originality, more or less every idea is a cliche, and yet, largely because modern readers seem to have no memory, and it's got an edgy look (quote from a beat poet, check; badly drawn art masquerading as significance, check; arty little text insertions, check), so it's healed as a masterwork.

So, our hero is a spy, taught from childhood to be an emotionless killing machine. We get the obligatory scene where he has to kill (who else?) a former IRA man who has a lovely family and is an all round angel, then can't do it at the last minute. We get a doomed love, which ends in what can only be described as a rip off of the end of The Spy Who Came In From a The Cold. There are a number of very uninteresting fight scenes. And then a meta-plot which reads like a very, very dumbed down version of Alan Moore's Miracleman, crossed with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, only with gratuitous sex scenes.

But worst of all, it's boring. If it were interesting, or even well drawn, I could forgive the fact that it's yet another 'evil intelligence services running the world behind the scenes' yarn, but it's not, so I can't.

There is another book about an intelligence agent who can feel no emotion, but unlike this, it really enters his mind and shows us his world. It's by Warren Ellis, and it's called 'Desolation Jones'. Do yourself a favour and buy it instead of this.
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