For thousands of years, humanity has had the privilege of being able to gaze into the atmosphere and bear witness to a myriad of spectacular celestial phenomena. In fact, many ancient cultures speculated that there was a direct correlation between astronomical events and the affairs of the human race. Basically, this belief became the premise for astrology.
One of the components of Astrology is the Zodiac. The Zodiac is an elaborate celestial coordinate system – in other words, it’s a map, or chart if you will. The Zodiac is a diagram that encompasses several regions of outer space. Inside of those regions, lie other star systems and other heavenly bodies. When I think about star systems in general, I begin by thinking about our own star. The energy that our sun possesses is vast and profound, not to mention, essential to us. So when other stars are mentioned, especially a group of them, I try to imagine the amount of energy that is being dispersed, its magnitude and immediate impact within its area. Are you capable of visualizing the amount of raw power that just one star can generate? How about a community of stars? Could you envision being able to possess and harness even a tiny sliver of such power?
Longtime comic book artist/writer and founder of Astronaut Ink, Joe St. Pierre, can answer those questions emphatically. His latest series, the New Zodiax, focuses on individuals that can access and channel such energies.
Here’s what you may have missed so far…
The New Zodiax #1
The inaugural issue of the New Zodiax, introduces an adolescent genius named Benjamin. Unfortunately for Benjamin, his life is full of turmoil. He’s bullied by his highschool classmates, his teachers doubt him and he arrives home to a dysfunctional foster family everyday. However, his time on, or “in” the internet, is another matter. When he’s online, Benjamin assumes the alias of the Liberaider.
So who is the Liberaider and what does he do? In my recent interview with Joe St. Pierre, he mentioned that the Liberaider “is a brilliant teenage hacktivist who acquires a metallic second skin that allows him to access the web with his mind. In an age where information can mean life and death, he styles himself as the Robin Hood of Cyberspace, who steals from the info-rich and gives to the info-poor.” The Liberaider begins his crusade in this book alongside other computer hackers as they aim to take down the multi-national company, Dinosaur Energy, Inc.
The New Zodiax #2
Benjamin is found out and attacked by assassins for his role in stealing a strange liquid metallic substance from Dinosaur. The teenage computer mastermind is subsequently dumped into the material and left to drown. Benjamin survives the traumatic ordeal; yet he undergoes a painful metamorphosis that leaves his body completely covered in the bizarre liquid metal.
This issue also includes a second story, which features the character called The Lion. According to Joe St. Pierre, “the Lion is the first man to ever look into the night skies, create pictures and constellations, and the myths associated with them, and to acquire power from that process.” As such, the Lion hails from ancient times, with an origin shrouded in obscurity.
The story takes place during the present, as two archeologists discover a long-lost Egyptian king’s burial site; however, hidden beneath the pharoah’s tomb, lies an inverted underground pyramid. As they journey through the site, they attempt to decipher the hieroglyphs that were written inside its walls, and in the process, learn of the existence of the enigmatic Lion.
The New Zodiax #3
The Cricket makes her debut in issue three, and in the words of Joe. St. Pierre, she is “a therapist for the dead, who helps ghosts trapped here on earth to deliver themselves beyond the mortal planes.” Cricket helps a widow who is being haunted by her dead husband in this highly entertaining and gripping sci-fi horror. Also, the adventures of the Liberaider and his quest for justice continue as a backup feature in this issue.
The New Zodiax #4
The final stronghold of a peaceful civilation called Aum’a is under threat of annihilation by the hostile alien armada of the Zoronn. The inhabitants of Aum’a exhaust all diplomatic measures in an effort to prevent a battle that could spell certain doom for their way of life. Despite lacking knowledge of how to counter military assaults, the citizens of Aum’a are not totally defensless, for they possess a secret weapon – Multaa.
This issue presents the breathaking origin of Multaa – an immensely powerful and astonishing lava creature who’s sole purpose is to defend the freedom of its innocent people against those who wish to see it vanquished. Freedom isn’t free…so that begs the question, what price are the people of Aum’a willing to pay to secure independence?
Also, the adventures of the Liberaider continue in this issue as he takes on the Dregs – a group of thugs that will stop at nothing to acquire Liberaider’s metallic skin!
Joe St. Pierre has done an outstanding job at presenting an appealing series with a solid theme that contains new and exciting characters that are placed within a variety of genres. Regardless of the emotional duress the Liberaider endures, he proves that he is a tremendously resilient youth who is able to rise above it all and fight for what’s right. The historical aspect behind the powerful tale of the ambiguous Lion is utterly fascinating, as it portrays a character possessing intimate knowledge of the cosmos that the world of his time simply wasn’t quite ready for. The courageous Cricket dedicates her life towards helping the deceased heal from any negative emotions that keep them tethered to world of the living. The origin of Multaa in issue #4 is perhaps the strongest origin story I have read so far this year. The illustrations presented by Joe St. Pierre in each of these issues were magnificent. All of his characters were well designed and full of intensity. The background art by Joe was impactful, making it very easy for the reader to become completely immersed in the story and action.
Please, do yourself a favor my fellow Crusaders, the next time you happen to attend a comic book convention, make sure to stop by every comic book creator’s booth. I say this because that is exactly how I found out about Joe St. Pierre’s stunning work with his series, The New Zodiax. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE INDEPENDENT COMICS. You could potentially be robbing yourself of an opportunity to miss out on an epic story or collection if your preference is to strictly adhere to collecting comics from a publisher(s) whose logo you’re familiar with.
I strongly recommend looking for The New Zodiax series at your local comic book shop, or buy them through the store link on Joe’s website – www.astronautink.com
Until next time Crusaders!