Title: Outpost Zero #1
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist/Cover: Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Alexandre Tefenkgi
Publication Date: July 11, 2018
Publisher’s Summary: “Welcome to Outpost Zero, the smallest town in the universe. The people there work the land, go to the fights every Friday night, and tuck their children into bed—but the Outpost is no place for dreams or aspirations. To survive is ambitious enough. As Alea and her friends graduate to adulthood on a frozen world never meant to support human life, something stirs. Something sees… Explore the mysteries and wonder of the Frost in this oversized debut issue by Eisner-winning writer SEAN KELLEY McKEEVER, artist ALEXANDRE TEFENKGI, and colorist JEAN-FRANCOIS BEAULIEU.”
Outpost zero opens with a mysterious hologram message, a fearless young woman, and the some very strange surrounds. As the issue moves forward, McKeever slowly reveals problems facing the group of teens living in Outpost Zero. Their society is surviving, but not thriving. The young people in Outpost Zero are selected for their work assignment at age 14, and expected to hold that position for the reset of their lives. Yet, even within this calculated society there are some who are chosen to be dreamers and explorers. Those individuals are called to work on the Discovery Team. That is Alea’s destiny, the fearless young woman who took a leap of faith at the beginning of the issue.
Sean McKeever’s inaugural issue opens with several big questions. Though the events of the issue are not fully explained, they leave the reader curious. How did these people end up in Outpost Zero? What is this threat they are preparing for? McKeever takes his time revealing each character, emphasizing instead the extreme conditions that these teenagers live in, the desolation that surrounds them, and the potential for complete failure and death. In between the very real threats that McKeever creates, he slips in pieces of character development, positioning each of the teens within their roles in the outpost and in their social group. McKeever masterfully builds suspense as well, from the earliest panels to the last page. Though the storyline is wide open, it is clear that the answer to many of the questions can only be found through exploration. McKeever makes it clear that to survive his young characters will have to push past their boundaries, both physical and mental.
Accompanying McKeever’s script is Jean-Francois Beaulieu and Alexandre Tefenkgi artwork. Their panels are detailed and in full color. They create both the world of space and the outpost, two completely different settings. Space is depicted as cold, with hues of blue, while the outpost is vibrant and lively, mimicking life on Earth. Their depiction of McKeever’s story ties the reader into the text and creates a relatable, yet new world for readers.
The Bottom Line:
McKeever’s storytelling shines through as he slowly reveals the plot to Outpost Zero. Complementing his storytelling is Beaulieu and Tefenkgi’s artwork, which creates the worlds within and outside the outpost.