Review: Zero Vol. 4: Who By Fire

Zero, Vol. 4: Who By FireZero, Vol. 4: Who By Fire by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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NNNNNOOOOOO!!!!! What a dumb as shit way to wrap this one up. What the fuck just happened. Who the hell are Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Joan Vollmer for Christ’s sake? Where is all the ass-kicking?!?!?!? Why did I even waste my god-damn time with this? I KNEW this shit was gonna happen. Ales Kot musta been peakin’ on 12 hits of blotter acid when he puked this crap onto his keyboard. I didn’t expect Edward to ride off into the sunset with the girl, but really?!?!?!?

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Several deep breathes later….Fuck it, I’m missing something. Come’on Google. We’ll start with who the hell Allen Ginsberg is…

For those of you that have not already read any of my reviews, I’m not a particularly smart guy (having spent much of my parent’s money and college loans on learning how to build a better water bong, desperately trying to contract VD, and pouring endless hours into becoming a world class hackey-sack player). I’m not into “literature”. Most times I’m a “what you see is what you get” mother-fucker, not a thoughtful philosopher. I usually, not always, but usually, like my comics to just be popcorn entertainment. Well written mind you, just a little easier to follow. Soooo, about an hour of internet research and 2 re-reads later, I found that I had developed a much different opinion of this book. Ales Kot REALLY challenged me with the final installment of Zero. He forced me to re-evaluate what my expectations were for this series and maybe the way I appraise other books in the future. Right, I know, pretty deep for a blue collar dip-shit, but it’s true.

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I’m going out on a limb and guessing the average comic book reader (a category which I typically fit into) is gonna fuckin’ hate this book and the way Kot chooses to end this series. Not because their “dumb”, uneducated, or that it’s poorly written, it’s because Ales isn’t spoon feeding you shit and he requires you to consider just what he is hoping to communicate with Zero. I would imagine that the message is going to be different for anyone that reads it. On some level, I think it’s supposed to be like that. Believe me, if you thought that this series was a little confusing in the first 3 volumes, this book is really going to frustrate. Zero completely breaks from the already muddy reality that Ales created in the earlier books and spirals off into what initially presents itself as an even more distorted and trippy experience. Some of the more recognizable themes about violence and father-son relationships were a little easier to pick up on. Who all these people Ales introduces are, how their lives and work relate to the story, and why Ales chose this sometimes disjointed way of telling Edward’s tale took a little more work. For me, it was worth it only because I felt that I had actually learned something about what I expect from the stories I read, the way I perceive things (in books and otherwise), and had a connection with the author that I rarely have reading books. Now I’m sounding like a weirdo.

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Anyway, the art also took a bit of effort to appreciate. Some, as in past issues, appealed to me a bit more than others. I really liked that Kot chose to allow all of these different artists to contribute to the story at the end and it wasn’t an idea I was initially sold on. Typically, I like consistency in a story in terms of the artist. I’ve left a few titles simply because there was a change in who was drawing them. I ultimately appreciated many the different styles all of these artists supplied and there was some really nice work in this book. That said, this book was still my least favorite in terms of the artwork when compared to all of the other volumes. Still some nice stuff though. And the coloring of Jordie Bellaire has been beautiful throughout the entire series. Bravo!

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This is only a recommend to those that are looking to dig a little deeper than the average Marvel or DC monthly. Actually, a lot fuckin’ deeper. While I found something totally new with this series and definitely enjoyed it, read it at your own risk. It’s certainly NOT for everybody.

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About Lono

I spend most of my time thinking about comics, tattoos, guns, beer, comics, my kids, comics, my wife, bourbon, samurai, comics, boobs, and English Bulldogs. And very rarely, if ever, think about work. I’m the less literate, rarely appropriate, knuckle-dragger of the bunch. I’ll make any excuse to hang out with my Shallow Reading pals, nerding out about comics, and avoiding responsibility at all costs. Only my name has been changed to protect the justifiably embarrassed. For completely un-waxed full frontal nudity, hit me up over at Goodreads.

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