What goes around comes around. Remember the cats from a few issues ago? What if Sam and Alea can follow them? Where do they end up? Let’s find out in Outpost Zero #9 from Image Comics.
Writer: Sean Kelley McKeever
Artist: Alexandre Tefenkgi
Colorist: Francois Beaulieu
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Previously in Outpost Zero: Discovery Team makes progress clearing ice from the dome, at the cost of the life of one of their members, Kaanan. Mortality is on everyone’s minds. Lyss is uncomfortable with doing more exploration. Sam finally realizes that he doesn’t really want to die. Alea is even more impatient, more driven to find out anything she can. She overhears that’s Kaanan had been collecting data about the weird power fluctuations that have been occurring. She finds an opportunity to sneak into his office and with a little work, thinks she has figured out where the anomaly is.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Outpost Zero #9 opens on Sam’s determined leap off the edge of the dome wall and his trust in Alea’s calculations. She watches as he just barely hits the roof of the building he was aiming for, and then she follows. There is a moment of recovering from adrenaline, and then they look down into the building. Breaking a skylight takes moments, and they go inside, finding a heap of wrecked machinery and dozens of cats. It’s also kind of chilly, almost even…breezy?
Discovery Team takes the last steps on clearing the ice from the dome and finally makes their way inside, and Denis finds something. (We don’t see what quite yet.) Karen calls him and Jann in for a meeting and to tell them that Discovery Team is being disbanded. The news gets to Alea. What she wanted most for her future is gone. Lyss talks her through this and asks her about her exploring, and Alea confesses that she cannot let it go. Lyss also reminds her that Mitchell is her friend, even as different as he seems from her. As the story has progressed, we’ve slowly realized that this outpost is pretty small. There perhaps are not many choices around for friends, and one has to accept those who are there.
Sam confesses to Karen his attempts to hack her personal tablet to get into the warehouse, although he covers up his true reason why. This earns back some of her trust, and she puts him back on provisional internship with Security Team. This is all part of his and Alea’s plan. He temporarily knocks down several cameras in the area near the airlock, but when we next see them, they are in the building with the wrecked machinery. This time they have outdoor suits. Following the cats, they push their way through the wreckage to a small opening with light beyond it. They squeeze through into a cold area, though not outside. And they find something completely unexpected.
This is such a great issue. The story has been building up to this point in such a way that it flows very naturally. The surprise is genuine and satisfying. To make it even better, we see some hints of other plot threads that are developing. Lyss talks to Mitchell, and apparently tells him something of the exploration. And what did Denis find? The analysis unit that he and Jann had been checking on outside way back at the start.
EXHILARATION AND SURPRISE
Outpost Zero #9 has such clean lines in the art. Characters are distinct and their range of emotion, in both facial expression and body language, is huge. I like seeing Sam come alive more. He is still reserved, but he has something new in his life, he has purpose, and it’s given him more confidence. Alea is as driven as she has always been, but this is tempered with a little less recklessness and a little more canniness.
The last several pages, as Sam and Alea explore, are very interesting. They’re mostly wordless, so it really leaves the heavy lifting for the art. In addition, there are multiple things happening at the same time. We cut between them, and we have a distinct sense that maybe they will even fit together. Same and Alea go through the opening to where the cats go. Karen can’t sleep, probably pondering why the cameras cut off and wondering if Sam could have lied, could be involved in this. Denis works on cleaning the sensor unit and getting it activated. And as I said above, Lyss talks to Mitchell. The obvious crisis has been resolved, but what is bubbling beneath the surface now?
Outpost Zero #9
I have rarely been so excited reading a book as when I read Outpost Zero #9. This is a book of intense drama, but not melodrama; of building tension so slowly you don’t realize you’ve been holding your breath until you let it go. But the payoff here was so deftly done and incredibly satisfying.