Kamen Rider Zero-One #1 is the next chapter of the legendary franchise having more presence in America. With the release of the series in America on blu-ray, along with the release of the TV series of Kamen Rider Kuuga and its manga, fans are finally getting a chance to experience this Japanese born series through proper channels. This continuation of the Kamen Rider mythology arrives thanks to Brandon Easton (writer), Hendry Prasetya (artist), Bryan Valenza (colorist), and Jamie Martinez (letterer).
Aruto Hiden is Kamen Rider Zero-One! Along with his trusty humagear companion Izu, he’s saved the world numerous times as the insectile superhero! But when his company Hiden Intelligence is attacked by the mysterious Ragnarok, Arturo must face not only the volcanic cluster cell-powered villain, but also his own past…
The issue obtains a good balance for fans of the series and those who may be coming into the comic fresh. It recaps the events of the TV series but does not reveal major moments and spoil it for those who didn’t watch the show. At the same time the issue offers enough introduction to all the elements of the series it can still serve as a comic on its own. Many adaptations of existing properties do not always share the same luck when they attempt a transition to comics.
Brandon Easton made sure to do their homework before writing this issue. All the characters maintain the voice and feel of their TV counterparts. From Aruto’s lame jokes to Isamu doing his best not to laugh at them makes the character feel very on point. The introduction of Ragnarok is not explained but this feels very intentional. As if the remainder of the series will serve to answer the question, “Who is this mysterious rider.” This mystery will ensure those who purchase the first issue will come back for the second.
The art by Hendry Prasetya succeeds in channeling the original series. The appearance of Ragnarok feels reminiscent of when a new major player would appear in the series, complete with a sense of foreboding and terror. The panels offer great energy and keep the reader engrossed in the action.
The color work by Bryan Valenza captures the effects of the show. The transformation and attacks are all energized thanks to the coloring and add weight to the action scenes. The weight of each punch, kick, and special move is accentuated thanks to the impressive use of color.
The lettering by Jamie Martinez helps with the flow and energy of the storytelling. The position of the word bubbles helps to perfectly encapsulate the scene where Aruto tells one of his pun based jokes and Isamu suppresses a laugh. This was one of the running gags in the television series and this use of proper lettering recreates the energy of the scene in a very impressive manner. The lettering also helps to get a great sense of flow as the combat erupts between Zero-One and Ragnorak by helping to direct the reader’s eye from one panel to another.
Kamen Rider Zero-One #1 is a fantastic gift to fans of the show but it’s perfect for anyone looking for an action filled book. The mini-series is set up to be another great way for the Kamen Rider franchise to have more exposure in America. Hopefully, if things go well, this won’t be the last time a Kamen Rider series will get an original comic story and fans will be able to experience more stories of this quality in the future.