Villordsutch Reviews Zenith Phase Three…
After saving London from the supernazi Masterman and a nuclear missile strike, the shallow superhuman popstar Zenith has found that his fifteen minutes of fame are almost up. With his career on the downturn, he agrees to go to Alternative 23 where another version of the WWII superhero,Maximan, is gathering an army of superhuman beings from alternate Earths to take part in a multidimensional battle for survival. With the fate of all reality in the balance, will Zenith be able to drop the sarcasm and take things seriously for once? It’s doubtful…
N.B. I’m aware that Zenith is twenty years old, but I’m doing this review as if Zenith Phase Three is a new release (which technically it is) to avoid any past/present tense situations.
After our first two Phases of Zenith (Phase Two review here) the Zenith Phases seem to be coming more and more easily accessible for the comic book reader. Granted that Zenith himself is a bit of an arrogant cock and it seems – like he believes – the Universe does actual revolve around him, but he is a 21 year old who’s be given a large amount of power and limelight, so the ego is expected. However, this accessibility is impacting on the stories being delivered for Zenith.
Phase One and Phase Two appeared to have an air of smarts around them. They were interesting and Grant Morrison told the story which not only made you smirk and laugh but also felt like you were getting a wee bit cleverer with each turn of the comic book page. Here in Phase Three that feeling goes out the window for something that you can see coming from the off. Gathering all the Alternative Dimensional Superhumans together on one planet – to help defeat the evil Lloigor – by a Maximan who is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic!? On top of this the fight scenes are confusing to the point that you’re unsure who is defeating who; it isn’t until the victors at the end give you a closing score when you find out what just occurred in the previous pages. We do have something interesting brewing with Peter St. John in Phase Three, but this isn’t enough to pull this collection up to anything enjoyable unfortunately. All of this is upsetting as the opening couple of chapters of Phase Three start off setting the scene wonderfully, but this ends up falling to pieces as soon as the Superhumans all turn up together.
The only saving grace for Zenith Phase Three is the art from Steve Yeowell who draws his comics strips perfectly in my mind. I adore this look and love seeing it. I look for details and shadows he may have hidden in panels after I’ve gone through the initial story, it’s that good.
Unfortunately Zenith Phase Three isn’t a strong story against the first two Phases – it doesn’t grab you as you can see quite clearly what is going to happen when the main story starts going, and it can get confused during the battle scenes to point the tension is lost. There are other moments, one in particular being an ending (I can’t mention it being a spoiler) that really wasn’t that much of a surprise, which was also quite depressing.
And now seeing that you’re on a roll, order Phase 3 here, too (here for UK).
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.