Outpost Zero #8
Writer: Sean Kelly McKeever
Artist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu & Alexandre Tefenkgi
Humanity is stranded on a planet covered in ice. Huge mega-storms sweep across the land, covering the outpost dome in a hundred feet of ice. To remove it a team leaves the dome through an airlock and drills a hole to the surface, then harness a laser, technology of yesteryear, to try and cut away sections of the ice that covers this egg of humanity. . .
. . . and that’s when it all goes wrong. The wrong calibration on the laser makes it shoot too strong. It blasts into the ice far too high up on the dome. The team is showered with boulders of ice. Kaanan, one of the most brilliant minds of the outpost, is killed.
At the back of the crowd at Kaanan’s funeral Alea badgers Sam about the thing they saw on the tablet monitor via the camera they lowered into the bowels of the outpost. Sam is reluctant, but Alea can’t let it go.
Later, Alea gains access to Kaanan’s data. Nobody’s been able to make sense of it, but Alea must see something. She rushes to Sam’s house in the dead night and they scamper off to the ledge where Alea jumped off the very first issue. It has come full circle, but now Alea knows more than she did. All they have to do is jump.
This issue is rife with character development. Alea finally finds the determination and self-sufficiency she needs in order to follow her own intuition. When she gets her hands on Kaanan’s data, she’s not asking Sam or Lyss for help or permission. She takes it on herself. Sam, on the other hand, finally puts words to his fears. He and his foster-mother (and the chief of the outpost), Karen, have an honest and open conversation. Like most kids his age, Sam feels estranged from others. By the end of this issue, both these characters are more grown up, but also more complex than they were in previous issues. The only person who didn’t get much screen time was Lyss, but I have a suspicion we’ll catch her up in next month’s issue.
There are a ton of people in this issue. They are characters (like Alea and Sam, obviously) but also setting (like at Kaanan’s funeral). There are a lot of facial angles and close-ups that portray nervousness, sadness, light-bulb moments, and more. While this issue doesn’t focus on sprawling landscapes or gargantuan monsters, it shows a different and, perhaps, more important level of Jean-Francois Beaulieu and Alexandre Tefenkgi’s craft.