Monday, August 9, 2010

DV8 : Gods and Monsters

DV8: Gods and Monsters is a reboot of a team (and I use that term lightly) book from the 1990's. What seperated DV8 from most titles was that the chararcters were not afraid of using their powers for personal gain. My knowledge of the original series is limited so I can't really comment on how faithful Brian Wood's portrayal of the team is compared to previous interpretations.

Isaacs's redesign of team members (left to right) Frostbite, Freestyle, Powerhaus,Copycat, Threshold, Bliss, Evo and Sublime

In "Gods and Monsters", DV8 has been deserted on a familar but foreign and primitive world. The team doesn't know why or how they've arrived on this planet.The story is told through team member Copycat's point of view, as she is asked to recount the events that occurred on the planet by an unknown person. We learn that the team quickly fell apart and went their serperate ways for various reasons. As each member is exploring this exotic world, they are accepted by different tribes as gods. On this world, the members of DV8 find what their lives were lacking on Earth. For some it's the discovery of a new use of their powers, a chance to earn respect, or a way to numb their pain. As the characters become comfortable in their new roles, it doesn't take long for the gods to become monsters. Watching team members interact with each other as they have accepted their new status alludes that only one outcome is possible. A conflict that will not only destroy the team but the entire world!

Woods should be applauded for making this story accessible to readers that are unfamiliar with DV8. Without using flashbacks or directly recalling previous stories, we have a sense that the team has a long and very dysfunctional history together.

Each issue shares its title with a song that appropriately serves as a soundtrack to the story. Reading issue 4 was twice as menacing while listening to Rage Against the Machine's "Calm Like a Bomb". A comic book with a soundtrack?! Well played Mr. Wood, well played.

Cover to issue 4 
Fiona Staples has done a great job with the covers. The lack of a background provides a simple and clean look to these beautiful covers. Staples does what every cover artist should strive for--create an intriguing, spoiler free image that still pertains to the story.

Now let's get to the art inside the book. Rebekah Isaacs' art is not very detailed but never fails to convey general tone of the story. I think Isaacs’s strongest suit as an artist is character expression. In the image below from issue 4 "Calm Like a Bomb", we see Matthew aka Threshold smiling as he realizes his potential. Matthew seems at peace but there is also something sinister lurking inside. This image perfectly sums up the character and fits the title of this chapter.


Many of the shots in the story are of vast and open valleys. Reminding readers that this world is uncivilized, in terms of our civilization, and that the characters feel lost and alone early in the series. While the planet may seem familiar, Issacs subtly reinforces in the background that this is not Earth.

I was debating if I should wait to write about this series after its conclusion. But I need at least one person to talk about this fantastic mini series with, while it's still going on. My motive may be selfish but you'll thank me once you pick this book up!

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