Must be talking to an Angel...
Must be talking to an Angel...
"Kek-W discusses his forthcoming high-octane thrill, Angel Zero"
This week’s 2000 AD Prog 1751 marks the return of writer Kek-W to the pages of The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic Book with his latest Thrill Angel Zero.

Kek-W is joined on the story by artist John Burns to tell a science fiction tale centring on Maggie McNulty, a seemingly ordinary, happily-married woman, who lives on a remote, rural planet. Maggie has an idyllic off-grid life, but she’s haunted by her own secret past: she used to be an “Angel,” a living-weapon that was part human and part, well… something else.

To find out more about the story, and how Maggie’s violent past comes back to haunt her,’s Ed Kaye caught up with Kek-W...

2000 AD: What can you tell us about Angel Zero?

Kek-W: It’s an SF action-thriller set some way off in the future – though one that’s fairly recognisable as an extrapolation of today. The story zigzags across two or three different planets, each of which is a sort of analogue of a modern-day country or culture. Maggie’s been in hiding - mainly from herself - so when her former employers finally track her down, she’s forced to confront her own past and come to terms with it. She has to fight to protect her husband, friends and everything she’s struggled to build in recent years. To do this, she has to find the strength to become the thing she hates and fears the most.

2000 AD: It sounds like you've created quite a back-story here. How did you come up with the concept? And how long have you been developing the idea?

Kek-W: Tharg revisited a very old pitch of mine, featuring a one-armed female future-samurai called 'Exterminating Angel'. It didn't quite work, but he asked me to re-tool it into something new. Somewhere along the way, I ended up with a gritty-ish woman-on-the-run type thriller, but with futuristic SF tropes like quantum-entanglement and Aliens. The protagonist stopped being Asian and the title morphed from 'Exterminating Angel' to 'Angel Exterminator' to the snappier, quasi-Manga-ish 'Angel O' and then 'Angel Zero'. Maggie's character / back-story evolved as we went along, but as we went into the final development furlong, the character started suggesting the plot, which is how it should be.

2000 AD: This is your first work for 2000 AD since 2005’s Second City Blues, how would you compare the story in style to your previous work?

Kek-W: Second City Blues, was a future-sports story which had various nods to classic 2000 AD sports-stories. It wasn’t full-on comedy, but it was fairly light in tone - very British - and contained a lot of social satire and so forth. It had an ensemble cast and various sub-plots.

Angel Zero is quite a bit darker – though it’s also got some humorous moments – and it’s very tightly focused in on the central character. The story is all about Maggie as an individual – albeit one who blows stuff up - we lock straight in on her and track her through her various trials and tribulations.

2000 AD: You are working with John Burns on Angel Zero. How would you describe his artwork on the story?

Kek-W: It became clear quite early on that Angel Zero was going to be relatively “realistic” in its look and tone – well, as realistic as SF can be (laughs). So, if you’ve got a character-driven strip with a female lead that needs a naturalistic look, then John’s going to be one of the first people you call, right? It’s an honour to work with John, and that’s no exaggeration or hype on my part. John’s a legend, one of the all-time great UK illustrators.

2000 AD: Do you have a favourite moment from the story, or a favourite panel of artwork?

Kek-W: My favourite moments? Well, they were probably me writing the darn thing (laughs). I love writing. Without going into spoiler territory, there are a few scenes that particularly stick in my head like the deep-fat fryer…oh, and the bus. And I really like the bit with the rocket-launcher (laughs). That one has the potential to be a quasi-iconic image, I think. It would definitely make a very cool cover.

Angel Zero begins THIS WEEK in 2000 AD Prog 1751, available now from all good newsagents in the UK, and will be available in North America as part of the September 2011 pack.

Ed Kaye

Friday 16th September 2011