Alexander Lagos is one of the best names you’ve never heard of in comics. I was introduced to Alexander and his brother a few years ago when their SONS OF LIBERTY became the first graphic novel ever published by Random House. Over the course of two books, the boys delivered a historical fiction piece about two slaves who were imbued with super powers and served as the guiding force during the war for independence from England. While the story was rife with real-world characters, the narrative was always way more fun than a history book. It was the perfect way to get kids to imbibe boring historical facts through a tense and emotional narrative.
With Alexander’s latest project, ZOE: OUT OF TIME, he leaves the way back past to focus on two new time periods – the early 90s and the far flung futuristic year of 2050. ZOE is as far from SONS OF LIBERTY as one can get from a story perspective as well; there are no real world personalities, nor noble fights. ZOE is simply the frivolity and fancy of youth taken to Sci-Fi hyperbole.
What struck me most about this book was the authenticity with which Alexander and co-writer J. Michaski wove the authenticity of the relationship between Zoe and her scientist Father. I’m getting ahead of myself though, as I so often do. The book opens in the early 90s where the lead singer for an upcoming garage band plows his record label owner’s stolen car into a train. Flash forward 50 years and the one album cut by this crew has reached a legendary status, much like the group Sublime. Zoe, like girls of today, crushes so hard on these forgotten relics she foregoes sound judgment for fandom and gets caught trying to steal some real memorabilia. Not being OJ Simpson, her crime is merely a misdemeanor and leads directly to the interchange I was heralding a minute ago. Zoe’s father is distant, even more so after the death of Zoe’s mother a few years prior. Despite being the man who can see and now travel through time thanks to some fakey comic science about light, he still tries to balance the pressures of life while still giving his daughter a modicum of attention. I don’t mean to harp on it, but the interchange between the two was truly beautiful. The father who understands a rambunctious spirit, but must still be a father and the daughter who merely wants to spread her wings, but still be Daddy’s little girl. Even though we can now travel through time, we still haven’t found a cure for puberty.
If handed a time-travel device where would you go? It’s a question I often ask myself and the answer changes as I grow older. If you handed me one in 1986 I would have gone back to watch Stan Lee create Spider-Man. Ask me the same question today, and I would be smack dab in the mid-90s dumping money into Apple. Youth is about frivolity and despite the fact Lagos is a grown man, he didn’t forget this fact when crating Zoe.
The book ends with Zoe visiting an abandoned warehouse. The same warehouse where Rebel Lions once played at an event called a rave. Smart girl to know that fourth dimensional movement doesn’t equate to three dimensional travel. In what was a stroke of genius by Lagos or artist Santacruz she ends her fall through the timestream as a sacrificial crowd surfer, a practice that I’m sure as been abolished by the litigious society of 2050.
Speaking of Santacruz and all production quality, this entire book is on par with and supersedes many mainstream titles. The paper quality is high gloss and each panel pops off the page in detail and appropriateness of tonality. Plus the guys are selling this inaugural issue for the low price of $2.00 digitally in Amazon.
I don’t know where Zoe is going from a plot perspective. I imagine she will try to stop the lead singer’s fateful plunge into Amtrack’s finest. Even if she doesn’t though, a tale of a teen out of time is one of my favorites. Especially when it looks like it will lampoon one of the favorite moments in my life – the birth of grunge. I look back today and my prince valiant hair and baggy flannel and want to kick my own ass – I can only imagine what my grandkids will say about it. Thanks to Zoe though I don’t have to imagine too hard.