ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Kamen Rider Zero-One,’ Issue #1

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Kamen Rider Zero-One #1

Kamen Rider Zero-One #1 is written by Brandon Easton, illustrated by Hendry Prasetya, colored by Bryan Valenza, and lettered by Deron Bennett. It’s published by Titan Comics. Aruto Hiden leads a dual life: in addition to taking over his late grandfather’s company Hiden Intelligence, he battles evil as Kamen Rider Zero-One. Though he has help from the Humangear android Izu, Aruto frets that his battles may be causing more problems than they solve. And then, a mysterious new being named Ragnarok enters his life. Ragnarok is hellbent on killing all Kamen Riders, and Aruto’s first on his list!

The Kamen Rider franchise, unlike other Tokusatsu mainstays, has struggled to find a foothold in the West. The Zero-One comic may prove to be that foothold, as it introduces readers to the concept of Kamen Riders and Aruto’s world within the first five pages. Easton was definitely the correct writer to tackle this book, as he’s had experience writing for franchises like Star Trek and Transformers. He manages to create an entirely new story while working within the parameters of Zero-One‘s continuity. And like most heroes, Aruto has inner demons to wrestle with as well as outer ones. Is he making a difference as Kamen Rider, or did his grandfather make the wrong choice? It’s a compelling conflict that sets the stage for future issues.

Another franchise expert who joined the creative team is Prasetya, who helped launch the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers comics at BOOM! Studios with Radiant Black co-creator Kyle Higgins. Prasetya’s sleek, anime-influenced artwork is the perfect fit for Zero-One, with the very first page featuring Aruto leaping into action and battling monsters in his slick Kamen Rider suit. He also has fun drawing the various alternate armors for Zero-One, which take form whenever Izu gives him “Progrisekeys.” But the star of the show is Ragnarok, who looks every bit as terrifying as the Norse apocalypse he’s named after. Unlike Aruto’s more futuristic Kamen Rider suit, Ragnarok looks as though he’s sculpted out of lava. And his attacks have just as much destructive force.

In line with the Toku aesthetic, Valenza brings eye-popping bright colors to the table, notably with the lime green in Aruto’s Zero-One suit. It makes a fine contrast to the fiery red energy pouring off of Ragnarok’s body and the crystal blue skies where their battle takes place. And Bennett’s lettering feels right at home with a Kamen Rider episode. Every time one of the Progrisekeys is used, an announcement follows, as well as a caption explaining the effect it gives Aruto’s Kamen Rider armor. This was a major element of the Zero-One television series, showing that the creators have done their research.

Kamen Rider Zero-One #1 offers the perfect introduction to the world of Kamen Rider, thanks to a creative team that has deep knowledge as well as love for the character. If you’ve been watching Kamen Rider since the original series or have only heard of it in passing, this is the comic for you. It also continues a trend of tokusatsu-based comics that I hope doesn’t die down, as this is the exact jolt of life the superhero genre needs.

Kamen Rider Zero-One #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on November 23, 2022.


Kamen Rider Zero-One #1
5

TL;DR

Kamen Rider Zero-One #1 offers the perfect introduction to the world of Kamen Rider, thanks to a creative team that has deep knowledge as well as love for the character. If you’ve been watching Kamen Rider since the original series or have only heard of it in passing, this is the comic for you. It also continues a trend of tokusatsu-based comics that I hope doesn’t die down, as this is the exact jolt of life the superhero genre needs.

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