Team Zero #1


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Team Zero #1


  • Words: Chuck Dixon
  • Art: Doug Mahnke
  • Inks: Sandra Hope
  • Colors: David Baron
  • Story Title: Team Zero: Part One
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Dec 7, 2005

It’s WW II and the secret agent known as Deathblow is about to embark on another mission. First, though, he has to assemble a team...Heaven help them.

We meet Collins, A.K.A. Deathblow, as he barely survives a mission behind Japanese enemy lines. His team? Not so lucky. Recovering in a military hospital, he is handed his next assignment– to go deep into German territory to a secret rocket testing facility, steal plans and scientists, and blow the rest of the place up. A simple job? Not likely if Deathblow is involved. This is a mission that not everyone will come back alive from, so who will join the soldier on his crusade?

This six-issue miniseries is much in the vein of The Dirty Dozen or Guns of the Navarone. This is merely the opening act as we are introduced to Deathblow and his world. I know that this character has a long publishing history in the WildStorm Universe, but I was unfamiliar with any of the previous stories. Chuck Dixon does an excellent job at making the story accessible to a new reader, though. I learned everything I needed to about this character in the first issue and at no point felt like I needed to have read past issues in order to understand this story.

The plot, at least initially here, is WW II action with a modern edge. Unfortunately, such leads the story to be fairly formulaic. There was one sub-plot in particular that I saw coming from a mile away. The antidote to this, however, is Dixon’s ability to draw a deeper characterization. Deathblow has a conscience here and Dixon makes the reader feel the weight of the deaths that rest on this man’s soul. Deathblow is a soldier doing what he believes is right; knowing that sometimes there is no way to avoid the terrible costs of missions, and placing whatever blood that comes squarely on his own hands.

Doug Mahnke’s work on this title is, as usual, terrific. His detailed drawings not only give a sense of place but of time as well, drawing the reader back to the Pacific Theater of WW II. The one exception to his overall outstanding work comes with the issue’s only female character. Mahnke’s rendering of Nurse Joy is, in several panels, wasp-waisted enough to make one wonder how she doesn’t break in half.

In recent years I’ve become accustomed to seeing Dustin Nguyen’s inks over Mahnke’s pencils, but here it is Sandra Hope who handles the inking duties. Her lighter touch is perfect for this dark story, never letting her lines or shadows overpower the action.

The colors here are also pitch-perfect for the series. David Baron captures everything from military olive drab to the bright, tropical suits of the government agents. The iron gray winter light of the opening contrasts beautifully with the golden glow of the Pacific Island sequences later. The entire art team has worked hard to make certain that everything in this title meshes into a coherent whole.

It has been refreshing lately to see the number of comics being produced that embrace genres other than superhero fare. The past year alone has seen an upsurge in horror, westerns, and comedy. With Team Zero the WW II action genre is brought back to life. Granted, there is nothing earthshaking in the plot here, there are no wild twists or shock value cliffhanger endings but Dixon has a knack for dialogue and getting inside a character’s head. He even includes period slang to add another layer of detail and bring the 1940’s war years to life. There is a full plate here for any fan of old war comics or movies.

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