Agents of Z.O.D.I.A.C.

ZodiacConvergenceThe Zodiac Legacy: Convergence is a pretty straightforward origin story. It’s about a small group of youngsters who acquire ancient Chinese super powers via an astrological convergence. Each of the kids gets preternatural abilities appropriate to their birth date: Tiger, Ram, Rooster, Pig, and Rabbit.

What’s not straightforward, however, is the name they chose to call themselves. The kids spend the entire novel trying to think of a jazzy team acronym. Like, for instance, A.I.R.L.O.C.K.S. (Astrological Investigation Remote Locator Operative Central Knowledge Systems) or Z.A.P.P.E.R.S. (Zodiac Action Preparation & Protection Emergency Response Squad). At some point G.A.P.P.Z. (General Action Peril Posse Zodiac) is rejected because “it sounds like an FX for flatulence.”

These days it’s hard to think of an acronymic name that’s clever and unique. After all, WildC.A.T.S., T.H.U.N.D.E.R., S.H.I.E.L.D., and N.W.A. have already been taken. Eventually the kids run out of options and briefly (but not seriously) consider calling themselves the Private International Zodiac Zero Assembly (P.I.Z.Z.A.).

Beyond the ongoing branding dilemma, the Z-kids (led by Steven Lee, the Tiger) are busy defending themselves from a scary guy named Maxwell. Like all good villains, Maxwell (no last name needed, apparently) thinks he’s a good guy. But in reality, he’s a vicious war contractor, and a villain-for-hire with no principles. ”He has all the advantages, all the toys, and all the money.” If he captures the power of all 12 zodiac signs he’ll be unstoppable.

There’s no question that Maxwell is a major nutcase. “I am the whirlpool,” he says while in a supervillain trance. “I am fire and I am chaos. I forge the future. I accept the burden and loneliness of power.” He has a dash of Dragon juice within him and that makes him a formidable foe.

Despite being the most powerful of all zodiac creatures, the Dragon is confounded by the wily nature of its young adversaries. Working as a team, the Agents of Z.O.D.I.A.C. find a way to clobber Maxwell and his Vanguard paramilitary troops. It’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with a Stan Lee twist. Added bonus: the novel also features 71 pages of illustrations by Andie Tong.

“You think you’ve won,” says Maxwell to his vanquishers “But you’ll eventually destroy yourselves. And then you’ll destroy the world.” Get ready for more zodiac vs. zodiac action in the upcoming sequel. World War Z has just begun.

[The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence / By Stan Lee, Stuart Moore, and Andie Tong / First Printing: January 2015 / ISBN: 9781423180852]

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