WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1 by Beau Smith and Angel Hernandez
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
Beau Smith sets us off to a great start with a touching look at the idea of family, while Angel Hernandez' artwork captures the very essence of WYNONNA EARP.
95 %
A Promising Start

IDW Publishing’s WYNONNA EARP, VOL. 1: HOMECOMING and WYNONNA EARP, VOL. 2: LEGENDS are captivating reads that are among my favorite comic books. So, it comes as no surprise to anyone that I was excited to get my hands on WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1. Wynonna Earp is the spunky heroine we all deserve, and her crew of supernatural misfits certainly delivers on diversity. What’s not to love?

This comic series, written by Beau Smith, ties into the current SyFy television show, barring some origin differences, and promises to take us into Wynonna’s life before her television story. There have been references to Wynonna’s dicey biker gang past both on-screen and on the page, and this is the first toe-dip into satisfying my burning curiosity. I’ll admit that this issue gives us a very slow start, but it’s definitely a promising one.

READ: Want even more WYNONNA EARP? Check out this article on Wynonna’s feminist evolution!

A Blast from the Past

WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1 opens with Wynonna on the Earp Homestead, happy to be back in the home she ran from for so long. As Wynonna embraces part of her past with open arms, a more dangerous part comes looking for her. At Shorty’s Bar, a man by the name of Lost Dave demands to see Wynonna. Our favorite ancient Black Badge Mayan warrior princess, Valdez, denies Dave’s request. The catch, Lost Dave reveals, is that he’s armed to the gills with dynamite.

WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1
Image from WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

There are pros and cons to this plot line. Obviously throwing in a man with explosives is an exciting start. The issue promises more details on Wynonna’s relationship to the biker gang, Banditos. Lost Dave insinuates that a group, Alpha Team X, wants something that Wynonna has. Something from her past. There’s a heavy insinuation that there’s a connection to the key that Wynonna wears around her neck. I’ll be honest; this is most exciting to me because every appearance that it has in the franchise has me wondering what the hell it goes to.

The cons certainly aren’t deal-breakers, but they’re worth mentioning. For the first issue of a series, it’s a very slow start. There’s about half as much action as Wynonna typically delivers, too. Frankly, much of the comic feels like it’s just the Black Badge crew sitting around having a circular argument. The comic has one foot in the past, and one foot in the present, which I get is a psychological thing for Wynonna, but from a storytelling standpoint I hope that it commits a little more either way in future issues.

READ: Love kick-ass women? Check out this review of BUFFY: THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS — PARENTAL PARASITE!

The Eff You in Dysfunctional Family

My favorite thing about WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1 is its take on family. Even though Wynonna is surrounded by her sister, Waverly, and her new mixed and matched Black Badge family, she still holds a place in her heart for the Banditos. She never claims the bikers are perfect — in fact, she points out their flaws. However, they allowed her to be herself. They took care of her when she felt alone. There’s no chance in Hell she’s going to turn her back on them when they need her, no matter how big the danger.

On the other hand, she’s not willing to drag her new family into danger, either. That’s not even a question, though, as everyone agrees there’s no way she’s walking into it alone. The problem is, that’s where the agreements end. The group is divided between charging into action now and taking the time to plan. The beautiful characterization comes into play here, with Waverly’s careful determination to protect Wynonna and Wynonna’s reckless devotion to the people she loves. It’s in the tension between Dolls’ insistence on preparation and Doc’s itchy trigger finger. The contrast between Officer Haught’s calculations and Valdez’ bloodthirsty tendencies.

WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1
Image from WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

In this issue, it’s very clear that a family does not have to rely on bloodlines, though biological family is a nice perk. A family doesn’t even have to like each other most of the time. A family does love each other, despite all their differences and their petty arguments. When the going gets tough, it’s family that will lay themselves on the line to watch your back. Wynonna Earp does family right, even when she’s burning down Barbie playhouses.

READ: Check out this article on the familial structure in comics!

Ass Kickin’ Art

The artwork in WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1 is done by Angel Fernandez, with coloring by Jay Fotos. What I find so fascinating about the art here that isn’t present in other Wynonna comics is that it feels to me like realism meets a dark Western edge. HOMECOMING was grittier and sharp, while LEGENDS smoothed out to capture real, human likeness. This series is a perfectly balanced blend of both takes.

WYNONNA EARP is a franchise which isn’t afraid to go dark, so the edgy style lends well to it. However, it also isn’t afraid to harness sincere human emotion, so I find the intricate emotions clearly displayed on the page to be very touching. Fotos’ coloring manages to be both realistic and vibrant, which breathes even more life into a series with such rich world building. My favorite part, however, is the compositions of some of the imagery. There are times where I feel right there in the room with my favorite characters. I, of course, also love the angles which put Wynonna in positions of power. There’s nothing I love more than seeing a woman tower over me with Hell in her eyes.

WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1
Image from WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Final Thoughts on WYNONNA EARP SEASON ZERO #1

Is the premiere issue a slow start? Sure. However, that’s not altogether unheard of. Exposition is necessary. Worlds need to be established. They didn’t give me a lot of information to work off of for speculations for the rest of the series, but I’ll be damned if I’m not hooked on the mystery of what I don’t know. For fans of WYNONNA EARP, I highly recommend coming along for the journey of this new series. Not a fan yet? Get some binge reading and watching in first. You won’t regret it.

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