My last encounter with Zenescope was not all too pleasant in all honesty, but I believe in second chances, so this week I am reading Ascension #1 and 2 written by Zenescope author/editor Pat Shand. Is it good?
Ascension #2 (Zenescope Entertainment)
The Being, a cosmic entity with great power and a personal vendetta has gathered a group of other powerful beings known as the Keepers. Together, they are “making the earth a better place” by culling all the bad from the world. He stops a school shooting from taking place, wounds/kills a group of homophobes and blows up a prison. At its base, this book is a commentary on gods (granted any one god exists) and how much they should get involved with mortal affairs, if any.
And for that matter, this book does a pretty good job in delivering some thought-provoking and entertaining scenes that really sell the concept. The Being is very clearly demented and wrong in trying to purge the world of “evil” and although he is killing people who are truly sinners, it is clear that we are not supposed to sympathize with him and the violence is not justified. Although the issue does get a little gory, which could have been reduced by more frequent off-screen deaths, the message is not that humans are truly evil and the gore has a place.
It does not surprise me one lick that Shand is a trusted editor and creator over at Zenescope. He has a clear vision for the book and is confidently telling a story that he deems worthwhile. I see a lot of creativity in this book and a lot of potential for really adding to the Zenescope universe. I was a touch confused by all of the characters for I am not a devoted follower of every Zenescope title there is. Still, it’s not totally unbearable for new readers as each character is introduced somewhat and characterized a little. The only scene I really did not enjoy from the whole comic was when the Being kills the Werewolf and handicaps the Vampire. It just seemed uninspired and unnecessary and if you aren’t a follower of either of those characters, it just seems kind of random.
Shand should also be commended for making the Being a well-rounded and well written character. When we first see him in action taking out the murderer about to enter a classroom, the Being utters a simple line that really resonates: “This doesn’t happen anymore.” He is clearly trying to make some radical changes to the world and is not going to start reasoning with those he deems unworthy to be part of society. Another moment that I think really illustrated who the Being was, came at the end of the book when he is fighting off the voices in his head. He is haunted by those he has killed but justifies it by saying that they deserve it. He’s sick and twisted but still suffers.
The art is the only area where this comic falters at all. It is perfectly fine to tell the story, but at a closer glance it appears wonky and unfinished. There are some choices, especially in the inking, that I really disagree with. Faces are sometimes over-shadowed and take on an inhuman, kind of distorted look that is really tough to look at. However, any action taking place in the issue has a nice movement to it and the color palette is quite tasteful.
Is It Good?
It’s a solid second issue that has some key character developments. I am excitedly awaiting Helsing’s involvement in the plot and the next issue.