Zendra: Collocation

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2002
By: Darren Schroeder

Writer(s): Stuart Moore
Artist(s): Martin Montiel (p), J.C. Buelna, Victor Olazaba, Mostafa Moussa, Victor Llamas, Jay Leisten (i)
Publishers: Penny Farthing Press
From: USA
Price: ?

Halle has been genetically engineered by Dr. Forcilia in an effort to realize the prophecies that predict the return of the human race, which was exterminated by the Jekkaran empire. The good Dr's masters are shocked by his activities and order that Halle be terminated. She is forced to escape, fending off the murderous attacks of the rogue Zekkaran warlord Abathor and coming to terms with telepathic communications from a race of super beings. She soon finds herself having to learn to control her own super powers before another planet is destroyed.

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying this book. Usually the quality of a book is inversely proportioned to the amount of cleavage displayed on the cover, but this comic quickly sets to work placing the reader in the middle of an intriguing plot involving nasty violence, cool spaceships and all-powerful aliens. As usual with the Penny Farthing line, the artwork is a pleasure to look at.

Moore doesn't waste time with long introductions. When we meet Helle she is some samples of DNA found on the post-apocalyptic Earth. Next thing we know she is a sweet 19 year old woman who loves her "father", but when she starts having weird visions of the fate of her race and why she was created she decides she has to get tough. From there things speed up even more, with the narrative jumping between Halle's escape to the activities of Abathor as he hunts Halle down. Moore gives the reader a memorable villain in Abathor; vicious, cunning and not above ripping a person's arm off to get their attention. When his and Halle's paths cross the body count goes through the roof as Abathor has to "persuade" his crew to stick with the plan. At the same time Halle's costumes continue to get more revealing.

For the most part this story manages to keep the reader entertained. Sure the humans come across as new age air heads in bad clothes sense compared to the more complex characterizations of just about any other character, but that serves them right for being considered so perfect. The other characters are of far more interest. A doomed character such as Kasir, last survivor of his race, who finds himself hostage to Abathor's plans, watching comrades fall and desperately trying to find a way to escape with either his life or some dignity. The subplot that follows him is far more satisfying than the battle for survival by the remaining humans, as they have about as much emotional weight as what remains of Halle's costume by this point.

While the first half of this book is an enjoyable read, it loses the readers attention in the later half as the grim and gritty events on Abathor's ship are replaced by the hair brained antics on the hippy planet where everyone is wide-eyed and innocent and probably on drugs. They don't deserve to live.

In a Word: ****.

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