Zero Tolerance: "Of Man and Machine"
Writer: Todd Vincino
Artists: Chad Smith(p), Ryan Cardinal(i), Ann Hertzog(c)
Publisher: AK Comics
As action packed as last issue, Aya also benefits from the addition of Ryan Cardinal who gives Chad Smith's pencils a much more smoother line. As always Ann Hertzog's colors make the entire presentation vivid and heighten the drama--especially when the pyrotechnics go up.
Todd Vincino begins the story by literally launching Aya at an escaping villain's plane. Once Aya's in the plane a tight battle expertly choreographed by Mr. Smith ensues and a stray bullet proves damaging.
Vincino not missing a beat sends Aya flying with a heretofore-unknown gadget. I can't see how the creative team may have foreshadowed Aya's new accoutrement, and obviously neither could they. Wisely, Vincino instead chooses to employ the simple gee-whiz appeal of comic books. The art leans more toward the cartoony side. The action runs non-stop. Aya has an ace up her sleeve. Just go with it.
Aya in many ways acts more like an operative in these pages than a super-hero. I tend to think of her as both, in the same vein as I think of the Black Widow or Sydney Bristow. Aya presents to the reader another spy gizmo, and Vincino again shows some excellent judgment. This time the gadgetry makes things worse. If you give your hero an out with one piece of equipment, balance out the asset with an item that deepens the problem.
Vincino's use of comic book conventions and speaking to an audience that understands geek Latin cuts to the chase when revealing the Big Bad on the cover. During this scene Vincino foreshadows Aya's upgraded gear, and while it does give the no-nonsense hero the edge for a while, things develop badly for our heroine. Smith and Cardinal create carnage and damage that make the reader wince.
Aya, looking like hell, seems doomed, but Vincino unveils a final surprise in the third act that can only be successfully accomplished in the unique format of a comic book, or perhaps the absurd comedies of Matt Groening.
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