Trouble Point #0 is divided into four chapters, and the first chapter is so morally apprehensible and unintentionally offensive that it makes me adamant about not picking this book up. If the idea of seeing a stillborn baby with a placenta noose around it's neck does not disgust you, nor it's resuscitation process, then maybe you could get through the rest of the chapters which range from passable to poor.
This comic covers multiple time periods, making the narrative feel all over the place. As a 0 issue, it does successfully begin each story and introduce each characters (with little characterization). But there are so many stories going on it would have been easier to just make four separate comics featuring each of them. The way they are separated also makes it impossible to see their connection to each other. Each is given a chapter name and a sub name, both of which are useless and most of which don't make much sense in the context of their respective stories (with the exception of "The Unstoppable Force").
Each story is written by a different writer. You would think these combating writing styles would make the book even less cohesive than it already is. Most of the writers have a similar voice, but their separate mixtures of narration with dialogue make the stories even less connected.
Trouble Point #0 starts during 2500 BC with a mother giving birth to a stillborn baby. This is meant to be a serious moment, but the way it is written and drawn make it turn into insufferable dark humor.
Cem Dayioglu's artwork can not pull off dark and is instead very cartoonish, combined with bright colors that never works with the haunting imagery the comic is trying to create. The image of a dead baby feels very insulting. Even worse is the next page, which shows the nurse slapping the baby and turning it this way and that to resuscitate it. These panels were uncomfortable to sit through and almost made me put the book down. Other characters in the same chapter have similar designs, so it's hard to tell them apart. There was also a two-page spread with the dead baby hovering in-between them (another awkward design) not showing off any particularly good artwork and a bunch of nonsensical imagery juxtaposed next to each other.
This story is composed of all dialogue. But even with the dialogue, no characters have an established personality. The first impression of the pregnant girls mother, Amira, is also not that great since the first words out of her mouth are philosophical jargon describing her "as constant as the stars."
The second chapter features no resurrected babies, so it is infinitely better than the first uncomfortable tale. Written by Denise Nunez, the story unfolds in London during the early 19th century and features an estate owner trying to murder his way back to get his property. It is admirable that in only about nine pages, the main characters entire origin is explained. The origin does involve a lot of flashbacks that make the narrative somewhat confusing to follow, and there is one point where the story jumps and you feel the writers missed a panel, but the balance between narrative and dialogue keeps the story understandable. While nothing spectacular, it is interesting.
The artist is one thing that unfortunately remains consistent in this tale. But it has improved. All of the characters are recognizable and will not be confused with one another. But the backgrounds are rarely given attention, with the artist usually just giving up and putting a color or two behind the characters. The worse image in this chapter is our "hero," Leopold, rushing towards the reading with a poorly designed face and a blue background with vaguely drawn yellow lines. These artistic quirks are all the more striking when looking at the full-page spreads outside the story that the artist gives to readers just for viewing purposes. Almost all these full-page spreads are great (not including the stunted little girl who is drawn at a weird angle). Why the artwork from these pages could not have transpired throughout the rest of the actual comic.
The next chapter written by Julian Lawler does an even better job weaving the narration with the dialogue. It takes place from various times, including 1997, 2002 and 2007, and focuses around "The Unstoppable Force" that is footballer Matt Cuba. These jumps felt unnecessary, but the chapter covers a lot of story without it feeling rushed.
Most of the players follow a similar art design and are unidentifiable from each other, but they are not what the story is centered around. Matt Cuba looks like the little boy who could, with puppy-pouting blue eyes and blond hair that don't fit the tone of the story at all. The story itself is interesting and ends on a great interwoven moment between dialogue and narration that leaves it on a mysterious note like the rest of the stories.
The final chapter, also written by Julian Lawler, is a present day piece featuring a woman waiting for her date. Despite how boring the actual date is, when the two leave and action starts going on in the car it gets a lot better and takes a sinister twist.
Unfortunately, while the dark tone is somewhat aided by the artwork in this chapter, the art is bad most of the time. Our "date," meant to be seductive and charming, is drawn poorly with her face constantly changing it's proportions. The worst is when she's waiting for her fate and it looks like her face is melting off.
If I was her date I would have kept her waiting for an eternity with that face.
The story also introduces the meaning of the title, but does not even attempt to do it in a clever way. It simply opens with the woman's dragging narration (which goes on much too long) and explains the concept of "Trouble Points." This concept is hard to grasp, and needs a better explanation, or better yet, a demonstration.
The biggest downfall of this comic was the artwork. It never had a good moment but was cluttered with bad ones, specifically that baby which really ruined the issue for me. But the stories cover a wide spectrum. If you like variety it may be a plus, but if you want to follow a cohesive story you can not get that here. There is a beat of mystery consistent at the end of each chapter that makes you want to know more (with the exception of the opening chapter). Hopefully, once I start reading Trouble Point #1 I will realize this is just a filler issue that was unnecessary and readers will not have to see the resurrected baby like I had to. Though it's definitely not forgettable!
But we'll find out about that when I review Trouble Point #1. Until then... let sleeping babies lie.
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.