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Channel Zero: TPB Review


Channel ZeroChannel Zero is a lo-fi mixtape of a book. Written in the era of Giuliani’s war on crime in New York, this is a love letter to a dirty city. The video cameras are hulking monstrosities of VHS, pay phones are a thing that exists, and televisions have tubes. In the book, none of this feels old or retro; it just fits the story.

Dust jacket spoilers in the next paragraph.

The story itself is only loosely structured. Primarily, we follow Jenny 2.5, an artist who rebels at the waves of conformity that have washed the grit out of NYC. She repurposes the strongest weapon the government has, television. Honestly, that is about all I can get into storywise. There are some cool chapters where we meet other rebels, but they aren’t really explored. In fact, the plot itself isn’t really explored that much. So, what is the book about?

Atmosphere. Before bringing us a second violent American revolution in DMZ, Brian Wood explored the ways in which our government might not have our best interests in mind. This book follows a New York in which the Clean Act has been passed. This law forces all media to pass rigorous government scrutiny before being released, effectively making every newspaper, movie, and television channel a tool of the administration. Fewer people than you might think are upset about this.

The story in Channel Zero is told much like a zine, which is a low-fi copier magazine from before blogs existed. It looks like the art was run through the copier two or three times, and much of the detail got washed out. This is the perfect way to tell this story. The story itself is really a loose montage of Jenny 2.5 and the bios of various other revolutionaries. I guess I don’t mind, because Brian Wood wasn’t telling a story per se, he was showing us a world.

I really liked this book. It almost perfectly captures the anger that seems unique to 16-24 year olds. Everyone in this comic is struggling against a corrupt government, but they are also fighting for potency.

Four graffiti stencils out of five.


Ben Rhodes, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor


Favorite Book:  Cryptonomicon Favorite MovieYoung Frankenstein Favorite Absolutely Everything:  Monty Python


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