Kid Code: Channel Zero
Issue: First Senses Shattering Issue!
Release Date: Available Now
Credits: John Jennings, Stacey Robinson, & Damien Duffy
Price: $1.99 Digital Download at IndyPlanet
You know, it makes sense that a genre-bending, convention-defying title like Kid Code: Channel Zero would come from Rosarium Publishing, the folks that gave us the Mothership anthology. Here’s the official type:
Kid Code: Channel Zero is a rollicking, cosmic, time-traveling adventure, fusing classic hip-hop culture and outlandish sci-fi fantasy in this alternate universe to create the ultimate mash-up. Everything’s a remix! And Kid Code and his comrades must fight against The Power, who eons ago sampled the first sounds made from the God MC and created the Dark Mix (a version of the universe that was never intended). Now there’s a race against and for time throughout the universe to assemble The Everlasting Cosmic Mixtape–nine tracks that can re-assemble the God Sample and help set things back on course. The adventure starts here in Kid Code: Channel Zero. It’s time for some action!
And Kid Code is, indeed, full of action. Your first view of the book is that amazing, colorful cover, emblazoned with “Presented by Tan Lee and Black Kirby“–and the art style is, indeed, reminiscent of a Lee/Kirby tale: full of bombast and high adventure, backed by art that draws you in (!) and doesn’t let you leave.
The Skinny: Kid Code takes the classic tale of Ultimate Good versus Ultimate Evil and turns it on its ear–literally. One of the most enjoyable things about this book is reading through it and seeing the familiar formula colored by hip-hop lyrics and, at least for me, culturally significant modifiers. Kid Code, along with Father Time and his “Hours/Minutes/Seconds/Left/Right Hand Woman Roxy Clockwise” work on the side of Good to keep the universe from being remade in the image of the Anti-God MC, or the Ultimate Hater (who wears a grill!). Kid is a Knight–think a mix of Dr. Who and Green Lantern–who works on the front lines to thwart the designs of the bad guys.
We get a lot of story in this first issue. I actually found it quite generous, because this could have easily been two full sized issues. Had this been a Big Two book, I can almost guarantee that we’d get two books listed at 3.99 each (digital) instead of one book listed at half of that. Kid Code makes good on that generosity by giving us an enjoying read.The book itself starts off front-loaded with lore, which will take some readers time to wade through. Past that, though, is a touching story that sets up some interesting long-term plot threads.
The first issue gives us loads of development. We see an entire universe-spanning plot unfold and be foiled. I fell in love with the interplay between Kid Code and Roxy clockwise almost as soon as I saw the two of them speak to each other. Also, I’m just going to point out how awesome it was that the writers allowed the story to subvert some of the most overused story tropes in this book. By the end, I was satisfied with the read and I wanted more. I often struggle with hip-hop themed comics, because so many of them come off as too lovingly packed with cliche–but Kid Code is full of hip-hop and musical references, and the writers do a good job of keeping it fun without being corny.
The art here is completely awesome. It’s like you can sense the reverb coming through the lines. The colors all pop, and nothing is muddy or dark. Most panels are distinct, clear, and don’t hinder the story–though some of the action panels seem to lack some impact. Also, every so often, there is a panel that seems to be packed a bit too full of information or color. But those are few, and the rest of the book is just so beautiful that you can forgive and forget.
Kid Code is out now from Rosarium Publishing. You can pick it up on IndyPlanet or at Rosarium. I definitely recommend picking this book up if you’re a fan of Ron Wimberly’s The Prince of Cats, a fan of Hip Hop, or enjoy Afrofuturist works in general.