Grimm Universe Quarterly Presents: Zodiac vs Death Force
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!!!!
The creative teams at Zenescope have always provided immense and grand-scale stories. I assure you this issue of Grimm Universe Presents Quarterly does not disappoint. At 72-pages this action and emotionally immersive story captured my attention from the opening scene. Throughout the story, there were enough twists to warrant future stories with the tandem from this adventure. With amazing artists providing their talents this comic never felt drawn out. I can say one thing is certain by the end of the issue. In the battle of Zodiac vs Death Force, the real winner is every fan of the Grimm Universe.
Writer: Jay Sandlin
Story: Joe Brusha, Dave Franchini & Jay Sandlin
Artwork: Alessandro Uezu, Babisu Kourtis & Gabriel Rearte
Colors: Jorge Cortes & Walter Pereyra
Letters: Carlos M Mangual
Now in my opinion in order to have a good versus comic you need several elements. Joe Brusha, Dave Franchini, and Jay Sandlin seem to agree with me as the story featured in this quarterly has each one. The combatants don’t need to be evenly matched although they must be capable of holding their own against one another. They need to be capable of sustaining the many rounds and even the changes in the environment that the battle may require. Also, there needs to be some persuasion, some push that causes the dust-up to occur in the first place. And finally, there should be a satisfying conclusion. I don’t think a clear-cut winner needs to be named. However, some sort of respectful resolution should happen even if it’s merely the classic “until we meet again” line.
Writer Jay Sandlin wastes no time in drawing the audience in by presenting the first combatant, Zodiac. I appreciated the way the story began for many reasons. First I felt this opening allowed me to witness what Zodiac is capable of accomplishing. Between his armor, a source of life, and armaments he truly is an operative who is prepared for any and all situations. Zodiac’s suit reminds me of a cross between the Centurion’s Ace McCloud and G.I. Joe’s Snake Eyes.
The Libra or Scales, although not mentioned specifically, are a big part of Zodiac’s arsenaL. The Struggle with the weight of ones actions also factors into death force’s ability.
This section also presented the conflict that lies with the man behind the Grail Armor. He shows much restraint when dispatching the smugglers. This makes it difficult for me to call Logan Patrick O’Connell an assassin despite what the solicits suggest. As the story progressed I would discover there is a reason for his behavior.
It was apparent from this opening that the story would provide brief explanations of each of the characters that would show up. From my perspective, this meant I wouldn’t be clueless about the (many) Grimm Universe characters set to make an appearance. Basically, the “enemies” were only strangers to each other and not the reader. This brings up the lettering of the issue which was perfect in proportion to the action on the panels. Carlos Mangual found the appropriate size and space to get the information in between the action.
Next, the story introduces us to Death Force who looks like a mix between Ghost Rider and Punisher. There is no denying Rick Murphy has an advantage in this battle because of his ability to siphon life from his enemies. Rick’s powers and persona would leave him looking like the more clear-cut definition of a killer, a sentiment echoed by the police in Philadelphia.
It is only when you add his partner Missy Werner, the hack-art-vist (part hacker/artist/activist), that you are able to see a different side of this character. With brains and beauty reminiscent of Cordelia Chase from Angel she helps us realize Death Force is more of a mercenary operation.
Death Force’s them or me power means he tends to operate rather differently than Zodiac. this difference is partially responsible for their confrontation.
As well as providing great stories, Zenescope comics have always astounded me with their stellar artwork. I can confirm that continues with this comic. Every small detail is captured from the crack of Death Force’s skull to the breaks of Zodiac’s visor. The team of Uezu, Kourtis, and Rearte work together seamlessly. If one member was responsible for a certain chapter or portion I couldn’t tell. The coloring of Cortes and Pereyra combine for the final component to this magnificent story. Whether it was a single blood splatter or each individual portion of a swarm of flies they managed to draw my eyes to what would have otherwise been undetectable.
There are many factors that cause these two antiheroes to come into conflict in this adventure. First, Zodiac discovers the smugglers he encounters in the opening are actually trafficking a human. His code won’t let him allow any harm to come to this young woman named Joselynn. This doesn’t sit well with the smugglers’ employer, The Lord of the Flies (or LotF for short). This villain begins using his power to control innocent humans, forcing them to attack Zodiac. Soon the streets of Philadelphia are literally swarming and Death Force decides to step in and help. Near-death from the battle Death Force absorbs the energy from the fallen swarm. This energy corrupts Rick and he becomes a pawn in the attempt to recover Joselynn.
Zenescope has always merged many famous characters into one overarching story, long before other publishers and productions. The inclusion of the LofF should indicate readers can anticipate several reveals and introductions. This is a Grimm Universe production after all. Still, Zodiac vs Death Force is the main event. And while their powers and personalities may differ these men seem to be fighting the same thing. While no conflict may cost either of them their life, can they allow it to cost them their soul? It’s all about balance in this battle.