Publisher: Image Comics
Author: Sean Kelly McKeever
Artists: Alexandre Tefenkgi, Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colours), Ariana Maher (lettering)
Release Date: 11th July 2018
Life still goes on no matter where you are in the world. Or, for that matter, the universe. Outpost Zero, a unique little sci-fi gem premiering with issue one this week, demonstrates that fact in more ways than one. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a British suburb, the middle of a Pennsylvania state, or, in this case, the descendents of a space colony that crash landed on a barren frozen wasteland of a planet and spent generations trying to join the rest of the human race. Kids will still be kids.
Outpost Zero follows the trials and tribulations of a group of 14 year olds finding their own place in this limited world of theirs. Through their eyes and the multitude of different relationships they’ve formed with their families and friends we learn a lot about this world that has just survived over generations by barely hobbling its way through. However, what I like about Outpost Zero is the fact that this off-world setting is just a backdrop for the main storyline, the coming of age and loss of innocence that comes with it for its group of antagonists.
14 is a bloody funny age to be. Doesn’t matter where you are, you’re just about getting used to the onslaught of hormones which has been going on for a few years now and you’re starting to form your opinion of the world and your place in it. At the same time you’re still learning a lot about the people around you, realising that they have their own wants and needs and problems you didn’t really consider before. You’re discovering that friends and parents aren’t the perfect people you thought they were when you were little, and that they struggle with the job of being there for not just you but for themselves too.
Oh, and you’ve got school pushing you in all these different directions too, and it’s no longer about just learning and meeting friends because now you have to think about your future. And throughout the course of your attempts to navigate everything, the same thing is happening to all your mates, and you simply can’t help yourself from getting involved. It’s bloody stressful, let alone trying to do it while living in the middle of a deserted planet with a cyclone fast approaching.
This reads like a teenage sitcom, reminiscent of Buffy or Starship Troopers without the demons of the former or the Nazi Germany connotations of the latter. The cast is what you’d expect of colonist descendents, a diverse mix of races and family roles living out their lives in one big metaphor for growing up in a small town. The only difference here is that the dome around their world is literal instead of in your adolescent head. It’s an enjoyable read even though it feels like it wasn’t necessarily for me, but rather for kids at that stage we all go through where you discover the connection to fictional characters that will help you through the rough patch of finding yourself.
All with the fascinating Aliene-sque backdrop of a wonderfully drawn setting, the bright colours popping out the page against dark inked shading, culminating in what the author summed up beautifully, “An ending and a beginning, both of them forming at once, separate yet entangled.” Outpost Zero is well worth a look if you’re in the mood for beginning a new journey into the stars through a familiar pair of teenage eyes.
The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
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