Generation Zero #1 Review: Hard Times

There was this show in the 1980s starring Mr. T. Its premise was that four special-ops men were set up, court-martialed and headed for prison. Having escaped their fate, they became people who would fight for you – for a price. On the surface this weekly serial didn’t need any emotional investment. You watched for an hour and went on with your life. But did you ever wonder who would be desperate enough to seek out these questionable individuals? For Keisha in Rock, Michigan she is in dire straits. With her boyfriend dead she seeks out a team that is far more dubious than the A-Team could ever hope to be.

‘Generation Zero’ are a group of psiots (people who have psychic abilities that are manifested and evolve in a myriad of ways), stolen from their families and turned into puppets for Project Rising Spirit. They gain their freedom and now choose who to help. Their fettering process only adds to the mystique of this team. And is in step with what all those science fiction stories warned you about. Technology seems to have a huge cost. However the people in Keisha’s town are willing to ignore it, if they become rich. Just what this city is hiding needs to be unearthed by young teens who were initially freed by Bloodshot.

Writer Fred Van Lente has the narrative knack to put his characters through a tremendous amount of hardship. Just because you’re on the cover of the comic doesn’t mean you’ll get out alive. Issue one is riddled with tension. Even if Generation Zero finds Keisha’s case worthy, why would they take it on? One possibility may be her brother – he’s younger with a fear and an ability. In the Valiant Universe that means one of two things, either he’s destined to live a complicated life or they’ll be a scene where a coffin is being lowered into a grave by the second issue.

One of the subtle, creepy elements within this story is the lack of adults. It’s a reminder of one of the tropes in horror stories. In the 1990 psychological-horror miniseries ‘It’ (based on the novel by Stephen King) four childhood friends are terrorized by a demon in the guise of a clown named Pennywise. They learn that the only way to keep it at bay was together. This is most clearly illustrated in the bathroom scene. Night after night a little girl cleans her sink that is filled with blood. Where does the blood come from? Why does it sprout up each night? It isn’t until the ‘Loser’s Club’ clean the sink together that the blood never returns. For these teens in Rock, Michigan who is their Pennywise?

So many theories can be generated from this telling. One thing is for certain, this is a story where there is no need for adults. These psiots are determined to get to the bottom of what’s happening in this town. The thing is will the Zeroes survive their self-imposed mission?

About Donna-Lyn Washington 613 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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