It’s pretty obvious from the perfect 10/10 I gave to the first issue of Outpost Zero that I really enjoyed the opening chapter in this story. This second issue expands on the happenings of the issue, but focuses more on the fallout of the death of Steven, the young outpost dweller who went into an deadly storm, seemingly killing himself.
Alea, who has positioned herself as the main character of the series, is devastated and unable to focus on her new placement on the planning team. The other kids struggle with Steven’s death in different ways. Mitchell has an outburst at Steven’s funeral, calling him a coward. Maddie instead decides to reminisce on the good times she had with Steven. And Sam, who was stopped from killing himself in the storm by Steven, tries to understand the circumstances of Steven’s death and conceal his own guilt.
The themes of loss and grief — and how different people, especially young people, choose to deal with it — were very poignant. I’m still really enjoying the focus on this young group of kids and their struggle to find their place in a society that sees them more as means to an end instead of people. It reminds me of the short-lived Image series Generation Gone from 2017, but it’s way less hamfisted in its portrayal of millennials in a post-internet society. McKeever seems to have a genuine understanding and love for Outpost‘s characters and gives them breathing room to just be young and act that way, which isn’t the case in a lot of stories focusing on young people’s place in society.
Tefenkgi and Beauliu continue to bring their A game with the art and coloring of this comic. The pencils are sketchy but still cement an emotional core to the characters and the environment that some other styles with similar fluid pencils seem to lack. The coloring has continued to impress me with its ability to bring a bright feeling to the series while still having that artificial edge that the Outpost is suppose to exude. I also really liked the use of textures in the shading; it reminds me of the usage of screen sheets in manga art, which has always been something I think western comics should utilize more.
My singular problem with this issue is that there’s no development to any part of the Outpost world besides the characters. It’s important, after something so shocking as the conclusion of the first issue, to give a second issue at least something to grab onto that will guide you forward in the rest of the series. I guess we still don’t know what Steven said to Sam in the airlock. That was alluded to, but not enough to make me hunger for #3. This doesn’t really bother me because I enjoyed the rest of the issue enough to still read forward, but with so many comics coming out each week, there might not be enough in this second issue to convince less forgiving readers to pick up the next.