Written by: Brandon Easton, Art by: Hendry Prasetya, Colours by: Bryan Valenza, Letters by: Andworld Designs.
Aruto Hiden is a young comedian in Japan who is suddenly thrust into the role of CEO at his grandfathers company after the latter’s untimely death. The company builds human-like androids that have become commonplace in Japan's technology renaissance. However, a terrorist organisation known as MetsubouJinrai.net have been hacking them, turning them against humanity. Now, only Aruto stands against the villainous company as his alter ego Kamen Rider Zero-One.
Aruto is being interrogated at AIMS (Artificial Intelligence Military Service) headquarters after the damage he has done to the city through his battles as Zero-One. He begins to question if he’s doing any good after all the chaos. Suddenly a new figure approaches him out of nowhere... his plan, to destroy the world. Can Aruto stand up to this mysterious figure or will he do more damage to his city?
This was another book that I had no idea about. I also had to Google it to know that it was based on a tv show. The writing was mostly strong. For someone completely new to the franchise, I was able to easily discern what was going on. It does seem to rely on tropes that we have seen in multiple superhero films, tv shows, and comics. Though the hero questions his actions after the damage he’s done, at the end of the day, the hero’s purpose is to help the community, and if the community is in danger then one must fight for survival and worry about the economic crisis later.
The other thing that I think could be improved, was the script itself. I’ve spoken before about how audiences have grown with the comics and become more in tune with them intellectually. Back in the '60s there would be descriptions for everything. At certain points this felt the same. A noise is heard and Aruto says “what was that noise”. I don’t believe audiences of today need that kind of exposition. Alas, these interruptions were not egregious and the writing did a good job at getting the story moving and keeping me interested.
The visuals by Hendry Prasetya were great. They are sharp and the panels are played with to integrate them into each other. There’s so much going on throughout but it never feels complicated. It also works well with the colours by Bryan Valenza. I love how vibrant it is. The bright colours are constant throughout. I also enjoyed how the Kamen rider suit changes its colour over time and with each upgrade.
Overall, this was a great introduction into this world. It’s also a hidden gem of a comic. Although I have a few small issues with the book, nothing will ever be perfect. To have what is a completely unknown franchise to me and develop a book that’s enjoyable but also gives sufficient backstory to help the new readers, is a great feat in itself. It’s also very different and has the scope to give something contrasting by having it in a city that’s not common for American comics. The backdrop of Japan can really help with having some differing skylines.
A solid 3 POPs out of 5 for this fantasy superhero series that has got me hooked and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Kamen Rider Zero-One #1 will be released by Titan Comics and your Local Comic Shop as well as Comixology
Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.