Writers: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover Artist: Amanda Conner
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
The blockbuster writing team of Harley Quinn tries to do something a little more experimental and mundane with Super Zero #1. The comic book examines extreme fandom through the eyes of Dru Dragowski, someone who believes in super heroes and also wants to be one as well.
While the premise is interesting, the results are a bit mixed. It’s understandable for the creative team to try and do something more subdued than their current series for DC Comics, but there is a big difference between mundane and dull.
The main plot has Dru hiring a homeless army veteran to mug her parents so she can become a super hero. We also get to see how her life is at home and at school. While this sounds like a solid foundation for a first issue, the execution is a bit off.
From the first page alone Dru tells readers about her belief in super heroes and theories of reincarnation through plenty of exposition. While this would have been an acceptable, if somewhat rushed, way to get into the character’s head, the exposition just keeps on going throughout the whole issue.
When readers find out about how Dru is doing in school, it’s not done through action, but explanation. The teacher makes Dru explain how many times she’s slept in class instead of simply complaining about it. We also find out the unique situation of Dru’s parents through a conversation with her friend, instead of having these quirks introduced to the reader.
Now to be fair, it is hard introducing new characters and a new universe to readers, but dumping information on them isn’t the proper way of doing that. Things do get a bit better when she starts talking with the school principal and her friends, as the dialogue starts to feel more natural, even if the comic has too much of it.
Things start to pick up when something dark is implied, but it ends soon after. It’s a shame that this first issue feels like such a disappointment, because the art from Rafael De Latorre and Marcelo Maiolo shines through in every page. De Latorre’s character models are expressive and unique, while the colors from Maiolo fit the tone of the comic properly.
It is admirable seeing the Harley Quinn creative team do something more realistic and down to earth, but the execution is lacking and the exposition is overbearing. While Super Zero has the potential to be a good comic book, it needs to focus less on the Zero and more on the Super, or at least the exciting.