Michaliski/Lagos 2013
Michaliski/Lagos 2013

What would happen if a teenager infatuated with music got their hands on a device that allows them to travel into the past? Well, thanks to Keanu Reeves and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the first things we would think of is George Carlin in a phone booth and Napoleon Bonaparte in a oensie swimsuit at the Waterloo Water Park. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

For J. Michalski and Alexander Lagos, however, a very different story was sparked by that theme: a darker, dramatic portrayal of a young woman who found herself in the midst of a conspiracy surrounding the death of her music idol almost 60 years ago. That story is told in the pages of ZOE: Out of Time, whose first issue is currently available.

The plot centers around Zoe Black, a teenaged girl in the year 2050 with an obsession with Trent Darrow and The Rebel Lions, a band from the 1990s. Trent had died before the band’s debut album hit the shelves, making him as punk rock as a musician could get in the 90s, and probably even in the 2050s.

Zoe’s father, Dr. Corbin Black, is a renowned physicist who had just released some technology to the public that would allow people to view historical events in real-time. This technology is the first step for Dr. Black’s secret project, a device that allows the user to actually traverse time. Being the rebellious, music-infatuated teenager that she is, Zoe takes the time traveling device and goes back in time, literally falling in front of Trent Darrow. What will happen next? Issue #2 will be covering that.

As an independent comic, ZOE: Out of Time exhibits many of the attributes of its more publicly touted cousins. Michaliski and Lagos make sure that there is an honest blend of plot and action. It’s an honest mistake of many independent comic book lines to make the first issue heavy with explanations and back stories to introduce new characters to their audience. It serves as a fast-forward to help an independent comic catch up to popular comic lines. The problem is, indie comics like that neglect to make their readers care about the characters in the present, which usually doesn’t lead to a following.

ZOE: Out of Time doesn’t have that problem. The reader is thrown into action with the first few pages. Then, we begin the process of catching up to that moment in time or, in the case of time travel, catching back to that moment in time. The final page leaves us in that “what the hell happens next?” state that begs for issue #2.

Michaliski/Lagos 2013
Michaliski/Lagos 2013

The artwork is teeming with light and shadow play, which I happen to be a big fan of. It’s not Frank Miller, but it’s a blend that makes the book as a whole darker, dirtier, and more detailed than a comic with anime influences.

It should be interesting to see how the conspiracy story-line will evolve. Kurt Cobain is an easy parallel, but not likely considering the time of death versus the popularity of the musicians.

Issue #2 is due for release on July 31st. The comic’s Facebook page will be a good source to keep up to date on its progress.

By Pat Emmel

Patrick began collecting a library of VHS tapes, DVDs, and CDs when he was young, and continues to build a library that could easily double as a video store and/or a revitalized Tower Records.