by Thirty-Nine Steps, freelance critic
21 days editorial probation remaining! [24 days, ed.]

Today, a major shock was delivered to fans of webmanga Zos Kias (think of Mr. Wolf from Pulp Fiction, but in a mid/high supernatural setting. Also, Harvey Keitel is a whole team of ageless teens. Who are also supernatural. Mostly. No, actually, all. Oh, and the Gatekeeper that they… Okay, you know what? Like, don’t think of Mr. Wolf at all. Zos Kias is completely different. But it’s also REALLY GOOD).

Right, Zos Kias. So, in an effort to “get [readers] more pages, faster,” creator and writer/artist Sanzaki Kojika announced an addition to the ZK art team: Aerozord (“Aero”), best known for his work on Fingah-Gunnzz and BANNED: Tale of an Onyx Path Exile. Also for the supremacy of Troublesome Housefox, but more on that later.

So! Kojika! Aerozord! Zos Kias! Good thing, or bad thing? Let’s take a look at the artists, and then at Zord’s new work on Zos Kias. First, Aero:

Aero’s impressionistic style is reminiscent of Sienkewicz’ work on Elektra: Assassin, and while that would normally be a weird fit with Zos, his unexpected choice of painting as a medium (there’s a heavy Alex Ross influence there, but that’s hardly a negative) makes it work. And while Aero’s command of detail and anatomy are as impressive as always (second only to Jim Lee’s), it’s his dynamic stylishness that makes him such a sought-after artist. Just look at that panel design and you can see where the newer generation of comics greats got their inspiration to break rules in the name of style. And just as Steranko’s trippy vision on Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD in the 1960s influenced Aero, Aero’s own iconoclastic approach has clearly influenced newer artists, most obviously J.H. Williams, especially in her celebrated run on Batwoman.

The big question lies not in the skills of the artists, but the compatibility of their styles. Aero’s artistic preference involves using convention-breaking techniques in his deliberate storytelling, and in building at a slow burn towards a spectacular, multi-splash page denouement. Kojika’s mastery of close-up hyperrealism enables her to tell entire stories through facial expression alone, and her commitment to traditional framing and sequence is key to making her frenetic, go-go-go action pacing and viscerally explicit imagery work so brilliantly. Not for nothing has Kojika earned the designation “America’s Goseki Kojima.”

Seriously, I’m shocked that Kojika was able to afford bringing Aero to Zos Kias for even one day. In fact, between the earnings from his career in comics, and the recent IPO of Troublesome Housefox, his now-ubiquitous line of bespoke, disposable, single-serving insta-kettles for tea and tea-like beverages, Aero doesn’t have to draw a single panel unless he’s personally interested in the project. Maybe he’s intrigued by the challenge of working with a notoriously ill-tempered wunderkind, like Kojika, or maybe you’re about to see a lot more Troublesome Housefox product placement in Zos Kias.

But either way, this partnership’s significance is tough to overstate. Panel 4 of today’s strip asks “wait, are those knives?” Visually, there’s no way to tell, of course—Aero’s impatience with flat, representational art makes the answer impossible to know. But this reviewer and comics critic isn’t afraid to stand up and respond “No, off-panel voice! Those aren’t knives*, those are THE FUTURE!”

So, Aerozord and Kojika will take Zos Kias to undreamt-of heights, mark my words. This will be a partnership that will last for years, revolutionizing web comics and tea-drinking along the way.


EDIT, 6:16 pm: As reader androidz_dungeon69w00t points out, those might actually be knives in panel 4of today’s ZK strip. Nonetheless, it is this writer’s steadfast belief that even if they are* knives, they are also THE FUTURE. Also, “No!” is far more dynamic than “Maybe!,” and serves to better highlight this writer’s courageous stand about…something. As such, this article will not be changed for grammatical reasons, nor for any others.

EDIT, 6:31 pm: Reader dante_deeznutz420 asserts that the “off-panel voice” belongs Kojika herself, and is meant to convey dismay at Zord’s choice of artistic approach to his ZK debut. Such an allegation is obviously pure hogcock [hogwash and poppycock, ed.], and the only reason I, um… I mean, the only reason this writer is bothering to respond to it at all is to urge dante_deeznutz420 to seek professional help immediately. So go seek help, you pissant little edgelord.

EDIT: 7:16 pm: This writer regrets any offense that his brusque statement above may have caused any readers, even whiny little edgelord pissants with less intelligence than sq. inches of neckbeard, and who just shitcomment at hard-working critics like me, even tho

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This article’s writer Thirty-Nine Steps has been placed on even-more-unpaid leave for the next week for violating this site’s Common Fucking Sense standards while on editorial probation. Also, another 14 days of editorial probation will be added to the 24 he had earned previously, for a total of 36 days. Sigh]

Happy April Fool’s Day! Thanks to everyone who played along, lol.