In our last issue of Generation Zero, we met our relatable protagonist, Keisha Sherman, a high school outcast who manages to stay likeable in the misunderstood teenager trope. And that's just the beginning of the good things writer Fred Van Lente (Archer & Armstrong) and artist Francis Portela (Faith) cook up in issue #2 of this awesome new series from Valiant Entertainment.
Set in the slumland-turned-tech-mecca of Rook, Michigan, we find Keisha thrown into a conspiracy that led to her boyfriend being mysteriously killed in a drunk driving accident (spoilers from issue #1, he never drank). Keisha calls upon the mysterious Zeroes, a semi-legendary coalition of government experiments gone rogue. The superpowered teenagers come to the rescue, and in this new issue, we meet three more of their members; the odd Zygos Twins, and Gamete, a genius fetus who is inhabiting the body of her brain-dead mother. Yes, you read that right.
Van Lente does an incredible job of balancing the angst of teenagerdom with the readability of his book and likability of his characters. Keisha is realistic in her strengths and flaws, mourning the loss of her young love while not falling into the overdramatic teen stereotype, and the Zeroes themselves, while we don't get to know them too well yet, are being fleshed out well, particularly the Zygos Twins, who are brilliant and a bit sadistic in a funny, charming fashion. The character of Gamete is particularly fascinating, considering how morbid a comatose pregnant woman being controlled by her unborn daughter is (apparently, Gamete has simply chosen not to be born, finding it much more useful to be able to "pose" as an adult via her mother); the writing lets it slide through despite the shocking situation, and it all just seems to fit.
The art by Portela is vibrant and solid, mastering the sometimes difficult art of actually carrying characters' unique facial features from page to page, so that the book maintains the same look and feel throughout the issue. The style reminds me very much of the Borderlands game franchise, with strong lines and color blocking, and it's a style I personally really enjoy.
Overall, I give this book 7/10. It was a bit slower for me than the first issue, but definitely still enjoyable, and the art is simply beautiful. Definitely shaping up to be a fantastic series.