(W/L) Adem Kiamil – (A) Ton Lima – (C) Derek Dow
Category Zero is a familiar face in the “what if?” line of comics asking questions of both the characters contained in its story as well as those of us flipping through the pages. When reading through initially I got a taste of several bits from some of my favorite comic premises. There was a dab of Inhumans, a dash of Harbinger, and a side of X-Men rolled into this book. I really liked the familiar vibes I got because they were just that, familiar.
In Category Zero we’re introduced to a man made virus that is unleashed onto the populace. Thankfully (or not) it only affects 1% of people. That’s because the catch is that only 1% of people have the gene required to activate it and thus, superhuman abilities. Mostly they’re relatively harmless. However, there are some that are extremely dangerous. It is that even more minuscule population and the potential for danger and harm within in it that ALL of the 1% are reigned in for “testing” under a shadow corporation for research. In reality that ain’t what’s going down. As with real life it is the government that takes action. Cordoning off the 1% into what are honestly internment camps, a very clear overtone of how fear drives action, misunderstanding, lies, and plenty horrible aspects of humanity are put on display. The book does an excellent job of setting up the world without giving too much away. We do get a first glimpse of how information is controlled as the main exposition spill is through what you can only say is a biased outlet. Clearly we’ve got much to uncover and more at play but the touching on the varied aspects of information control, perception, and fear mongering makes it clear that this book has layers.
There are very “human” moments in the book that not only add stakes to the bigger picture but also a very nice depth to the story. A forced division brings out what’s lurking under the surface in both individuals and society as a whole. People turn on one another and on the turn of a dime different is ostracized and something to be afraid of. All due to chance, or at least the potential of something going wrong or bad, people are at odds. Doing a story like this makes it extremely hard not to draw X-Men comparisons. Category Zero does a very good job of taking the cues and updating the approach, fitting it into today’s world. We follow a family unit that has one member that falls into the 1%. At the forefront of it all is how we react. The personal nuance in the bigger picture is the heart supplying the bloodlines of Category Zero. At the end of issue #1 we get a cataclysmic event that triggers a ware between the government and the 1%.
With just a single issue the book grabbed me. It did exactly what it is supposed to do. It set things up in a fashion that teased all of the aspects that drive the book, gave me a reason to give a crap about them, and managed to put the air of urgency into it all. The last page makes a very bold statement about the human aspect being central to everything and the heart of the matter. How do we react? After that last page, how would you?
Category Zero hits TOMORROW NCBD JUNE 5th 2019 !!!