review by Joe Vaz
In October of 2014, 2000 AD began reprinting the individual books of Morrison and Yeowell’s breakthrough superhero series, Zenith, about the vain, self-obsessed, egotistical pop singer “superbrat” whose only interests are girls, partying, and where he is in the music charts. Yet as the world’s only superhero, he doesn’t realise that he is at the centre of a dark conspiracy that could wipe out the entire universe.
Published simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic in gorgeous hardback editions with brand new covers by Yeowell, Zenith Phase Two has rocketed to the top of the charts after its release.
Clever, snappy, visceral, and witty, Zenith is a satire on the pop music culture of the late 1980’s, on politics, and on the superhero genre – themes that Morrison has come back to again and again throughout his career. It is an incredibly important piece of comics history, not just because it began Morrison’s rise to become arguably the biggest name working in comics today, but also because it was 2000 AD’s first true superhero series and also represented the beginning of yet another ‘British Invasion’ of the US comics scene.
Having missed its original run in the late 80’s, I had the privilege of getting my hands on all four Phases of Zenith’s story and they’re brilliant. Funny and twisted, violent and frightening, and surprisingly cold-blooded. If you’re only used to your superhero stories coming from the American publishers, you’re in for a shock. Morrison and Yeowell don’t pull their punches and there are some genuinely brutal scenes. But it is also packed with all the wit and sardonic humour that we have come to love from 2000 AD, as well as social and political satire that 2000 AD has always been at the forefront of.
Zenith Phase One, Two, Three and Four are valuable additions to any 2000 AD collection.
2013’s limited edition The Complete Zenith sold out within hours of its release through the 2000 AD online shop but this is the first time the whole of Morrison and Yoewell’s breakthrough work will be available in book and comic stores.
Zenith Phase One, Phase Two and Phase Three are available now through the 2000AD online shop, including a special edition slip-case to house all four volumes.
Zenith Phase Four comes out on July 16th.