Neozoic: Trader’s Gambit #1
Written by Paul Ens
Illustrated by Jae Korim
Colored by Ivan Plascencia
Lettered by Troy Peteri
Cover by Jae Korim
Red 5 Comics
Release Date: April 24, 2013
Cover Price: $3.50
How would our lives have been different if a meteorite meant to strike Earth and wipe out the dinosaurs was thrown off of its original trajectory and hit the Moon instead? Written by Paul Ens with illustrations from Jae Korim, Neozic: Trader’s Gambit #1 is the sequel to Red 5 Comics’ Neozic. This story continues to explore a very different world from our own — an alternate timeline that mixes fantasy-esque monarchies with science fiction and modern day elements — on an Earth where dinosaurs still exist alongside the likes of humans and telepathic beings.
After the battle against the Talpid and the destruction caused by mind-controlled dinosaurs, the people of Monanti City are trying to rebuild their home. Also attempting to refill their ranks is the Predator Defense League (PDL), led by the newly appointed General Mitch Clawson. These protectors of Monanti are forced to train the rebel social outcasts who helped save the city; unfortunately, it seems to be quite the difficult endeavor. Meanwhile, two members of the PDL, Lilli and Petra, travel with Milo — a young, powerful telepathic Talpid girl — to a foreign land, accompanying a trade convoy. On the way, the group encounters and must deal with an unwanted surprise.
Ens’ writing for Neozoic: Trader’s Gambit #1 is on par with his storytelling from the first volume. Continuing to excel in world building, this comic is a solid opener to the story-arc, reintroducing the main set of characters while bringing new ones into the fold. He offers a refreshingly fun story, not bogged down by weighty or heady material, but allows for a simple, enjoyable experience — which is something I believe is missing in a lot of comics these days.
While I do appreciate Korim’s crisp, colorful art, it does have one major flaw: all of the characters look the same! This especially goes for the women. I was only able determine who was who by hair color and skin tone — sometimes by weapon of choice as well. All of the female characters have the same body type — ridiculously thin — and look almost identical in facial structure. Many of the men also fall prey to this distracting aspect, but not as utterly noticeable as the women.
I will continue to read this series — considering I now know who all of the characters are — as it was mostly agreeable. Sometimes it’s nice to read a child-friendly book that I wouldn’t hesitate to give to my kids one day. If you can get past the shared likeness of many of the characters, I would recommend giving this one a shot.