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Channel Zero

Brian Wood

Reviewed by Lorenzo Princi
Channel Zero by Brian Wood
Cover Concept by Lorenzo Princi, 10 September 2012

Channel Zero plays out as a series of intersected short stories set in an alternate present. The US has become ultra conservative, allowing religion and politics unite and passing a law known as the Clean Act; a strict set of censorship regulations.

These regulations control everything the public see and hear on all forms of media. To enforce this law, the government has created a special force known as Cleaners who are able to use any and all means to clean up the streets.

Jennie, a young activist, aided by some illegal broadcasting equipment begins televising uncensored news to whoever wants to listen and her message, though only heard by few, begins to have a profound impact.

The visual style of the reminded me right away of mmm... skyscraper I love you by tomato with its black and white stylised typographic cityscapes and urban sprawl. No surprise then, that Wood was a graphic design student in the mid 90s. The soundtrack for this comic could easily be Queensryche's Rock Opera Operation: Mindcrime which also touches on some similar themes.

This reaction to Zero Tolerance is not so much a story but a social-political essay tied together by a sequence of small events, a conversation here, a riot there. Filled with student angst and anarchy, presented with a great use of sharp black lines which almost make the pages screech with urban sounds. I ultimately enjoyed this book more for it concepts, style, layout and amazing use of typography more than for its narrative.

Tags: anarchy sci-fi