Comics Review: Spill zone by Scott Westerfeld

Spill zone is the first volume of a SF/fantasy teen comic. It centers around Addison who is a rogue photographer of a strange no man’s land, locked down by the government, where an unexplained occurrence transformed the land and killed hundreds, including her parents and left many mentally injured, including her little sister who has not talked since the incident. 

The illustrations by Westerfield are very pleasant, smooth and modern, but it’s especially the colours of the album, by Hilary Sycamore that attracted me to this comic. They are extremely vibrant, almost 80s in their intensity when dealing with the broken up pixelated land of the Spill Zone. I love the fluo pinks and greens slashing violently through the sad everyday and giving strength to unexplained phenomenons, physical impossibilities and monstrous creatures.

Sadly, I wasn’t really hooked into the story. I did not manage to care about Addison, she was annoying and had no charisma. Her little sister was more interesting, but their relationship was glanced over too superficially. The drawing of the doll is not very original, oddly classic which is a shame when it is supposed to be a big part of the story. I feel they could have worked on their character design a little more to bring something fresh to the genre. As it is it looked like a halloween gimmick.

The spill zone’s reason for existence and actual effects are left as an enigma, and while there was a lot of action happening in there, chasses and risk taking, I ended the volume not caring about what happened to anyone or curious about what it all was about. 

I think with better characterisation this comic could have had a lot of charm, there is plenty of ideas but the people populating the story are blend. Because nothing is answered in this first volume I cannot tell if the story will be any good in the long run, or will peter out without answers like the TV series Lost. The problem is most of the events, like the thieving art dealer and the rich collector, are such a tired ideas I don’t have a lot of hope for the other denouement.

I believe this will only be of interest to younger people who have not read as many graphic novels or seen as many films as I have.

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