Comic Book Review: Z Nation #2


Expect the unexpected and cling to no one as this world knows how to chew you up and spit you back out. This we learned the hard way from the first issue in case we had forgotten what kind of world Z Nation takes place in. Early days are just as crazy as the present for the Z-pocalypse, but it never hurts to see what life was like as the people became survivors.

Z Nation: Black Summer – Part Two opens up with some strong exploration of the way the world around everyone began to crumble. We were used to news from someone like Citizen Z, but by then there wasn’t much to really stay tuned for unless you were looking for some light at the end of the tunnel. Here there was a natural progression following of civilization’s decay. The things on the surface you could easily just overlook as news, but everything matters when understanding what isn’t anymore, and what is now.

Getting back to Specialist Israel Johnson and Private Edie Cutter finding themselves trapped aboard the floating zombie fortress The Empress of the Seas, the odds certainly did not seem in their favor after where we last left off on the first issue. The tension created from how each wanted to go about handling the mission definitely keeps you at the edge of your seat. Again this is one of those stories where you get attached to no one. And more than anything else you prepare yourself for the worst case scenario that may come out of left field. Making their way through this ship, the terror intensified as stating that the odds were against them soon felt like an understatement. I will say that I was almost disappointed that there wasn’t time allocated towards learning just a little more about these two because I felt like there is more of a connection from those we are running into along the way. It took some time, but there was some satisfactory depth given to these two and why it is that they are bumping heads the way that they are.

Their interactions with some of the crew along the way was informative. Some things you could pretty much figure out for yourself, though it was more engaging for others to solidify the fact that Johnson and Cutter are in a sticky situation.

This sadistic Captain and his Crew are the perfect threat for this mini series. As I’m sure most reading this are big fans of Z Nation, we all know that it is rare when you run into others who are kind-hearted or not batshit crazy. These guys meet the standard for those that gave up their sense of humanity for the sake of survival. Nothing too new, but the right sort of challenge that meets expectation.

I was impressed by the artwork in the first issue, though there was still some areas where there could be improvements. Getting through this second issue I can see that they understood where those areas were because the overall quality was a step up. For example what I pointed out before was some of the facial expressions which at times felt cold and emotionless, for the second issue there was more engagement from the faces. This was important considering there were a lot more interactions that sold you on how dangerous life is aboard this ship. The way they drew these other people sent the message that even as things on the surface seemed nice aboard the ship, that was only on the surface which tends to be the case. Transitioning into this second issue the area where they show the most consistency in quality are the settings and structures. There’s no doubting that Edu Menna has done his research in drawing things like ships which take a keen eye to detail the way he does, even in map form as well. The colors were more tame this time around with that said. Not a problem as nothing too significant happens till the end of the issue. It just gives us more time to appreciate the work that goes into textures, skin tones, and colors which control the mood of the story.

Just when you thought you had thing figured out, in a Z Nation kind of way things became complicated. Well even more complicated.  Z Nation #2 doesn’t bring us that much closer to Johnson and Cutter retrieving the Soylent-Z, but we sure as heck understand now what obstacles will stand between them and completing what seems like an almost impossible mission.

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