Section Zero #3
Writer: Karl Kesel
Artist: Tom Grummett
While the last issue of Section Zero ended with a pretty decent hook, this one fails to capitalize on it. Doctor Challenger found herself in earth’s primordial past, leaving Section Zero behind. The rest of the team takes a back seat, mostly following Sam Wildman’s desperate search for his ex-wife. Sam gets a decent amount of development in this issue but none of it feels very substantial. It also comes at the expense of the other team members and even the plot itself. It would have been more interesting to see Challenger stuck fending off dinosaurs with millions of years away from home. But there’s still time for that.
At this point, it’s easier to pick out Section Zero’s specific storytelling problem. It does a good job setting up interesting plot hooks but never gets around to exploring them. Thom’s cursed tattoo, the immortal Ghost Soldiers, and Sargasso’s prophecies all still play a role. But there’s no real progression to any of those plot threads. Or really any other ones, for that matter. The book brushes aside any real examinations of its story threads in favor of its action scenes. Considering those aren’t anything special, the book definitely has room to improve.
A considerable amount of Section Zero #3 takes place in the sewers of New York City, where the cannibalistic, magical Rat King rules. The supernatural monarch is quick to divulge his history and specific set of powers. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t give this interesting premise enough time to develop. The Ghost Soldiers also make a reappearance, though the book refuses to give anything more than vague hints. at the same time, Section Zero also fails to give them an aura of mystery. Once again, Section Zero feels more underdeveloped than genuinely mysterious.
Tom Grummett’s art improves in some places with Section Zero #3. However, it still has most of the same problems. This issue continues to sport less than desirable layouts and perspective. The book’s strange focus and variety of powers are all presented in a downright mundane way. Especially if you compare it to Grummett’s previous work, particularly his superb contributions to Animal Man. To the artist’s credit, there is a bit of brilliance when the team is captured by the Rat King. Chained up and forced to participate in ritual combat, the team’s struggles are broken up by panels showing the crowd banging pipes to simulate a drumbeat. It really adds to the tension and atmosphere of the scene and shows the sort of creative spark the rest of Section Zero really needs.
Section Zero #3
Section Zero certainly isn't getting worse but it's still not showing any major signs of improvement.