Writer: Karl Kesel
Art: Tom Grummett
Colors by: Ben Dimagmaliw
Letters by: Richard Starkings
Release Date: April 3rd, 2019
Section Zero #1 continues my journey into books that are not from the Big 2 of Marvel and DC. I have to say, I chose VERY WELL this week. This book was initially released under Gorilla Comics, which was an imprint of Image, back in 2000. Creators Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett worked tirelessly for 18 years to bring it back…and that they did! I was a fan of their work during their Superboy days in the 90s and that continues with Section Zero. That continues to be the case with Section Zero and I hope it sticks around for a bit.
Section Zero is a 1950s B-movie come to life and spliced with a little bit of Planetary and the X-Files. Imagine encountering Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or an alien ship. Who do you call? Section Zero! A secret section of the United Nations’ Charter, Section Zero is a team of experts that are called on “to explore and investigate unexplained phenomena worldwide.” The team consists of team leader A.J. Keeler who doesn’t see much time in the field for what I think are mysterious reasons, Doctor Titania “Tina” Challenger the last of a family of scientific adventurers, her ex-husband and the team’s field leader Sam Wildman, and Tesla an alien with the mentality of a child.
This first issue introduces us to what will become the five members of the Section Zero team as they investigate reports of a monster in the jungles of Siatok. That turns out to be future member Thom Talesi…the 24 Hour Bug, a kid who can morph into an insect when he touches the strange tattoo on his right arm. The team goes from one paranormal investigation to another and Kesel sprinkles in some great introductory character development along the way. So far my favorite character is Tesla. I enjoy his child-like mentality and how much excitement he brings to the group. Plus…he drives a sweet alien flying saucer with a tractor beam. Can’t go wrong with that!
Grummett’s artwork does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. As I previously mentioned, I am a huge fan of his art from his days on Superboy. Seeing his art in Section Zero brings back those fond memories. His attention to detail cannot be understated. Every panel is full of incredible artistic facets from U.N. office buildings to the jungles of Siatok, and finally the Australian Outback. He is very meticulous when it comes to his character illustration. Grummett really gets the grime and dirt on Sam Wildman just right. The same with the insect details on Thom Talesi or the light that emanates from Tesla when he gets excited. Lastly, I rarely talk about letterers, which is a shame in and of itself, but I really have to give Richard Starkings some props for the lettering done at the beginning of the issue. It really set the food of a science-fiction mystery. I’m a little disappointed that this font wasn’t used throughout the rest of the book.
I am really interested and curious to see where the story goes from this first issue. Will it have deep mysteries like Planetary did? Or will the issues be more like an episode of the X-Files, where the case is solved in a single issue? The secrets that A.J. Keeler has regarding his true allegiances are reason enough for me to purchase issue two!