Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review - Devolution #1 (@DynamiteComics)


"Without a map you could wander for weeks."

The way humanity treats the planet and each other is a little unsettling. It's wholly possible (and likely) that the world will fall apart at the seams when things go down. Devolution #1 from Dynamite Entertainment is a very frank take on a world without order. The issue is written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Jonathan Wayshak and colored by Jordan Boyd.

In the near future, the human population is too big and too careless while our small world struggles to recover. In our urgency to “fix” the problem with science, science turns on the human race. The cure becomes a disease that infects almost all of the living species on Earth, reversing the last forty millennia of evolution. The modern world of technology, religion, and law doesn’t mean much to animals and that’s what most of the world has become. One woman named Raja has managed to survive among the animals of this new world for a long time with only one mission; find a way to save the world.

Devolution #1 doesn't really pull any punches in its bleak portrayal of a world fallen by the wayside. Additionally, Remender certainly isn't shy about making the work as much of a political statement as it is a science-fiction story, focusing on the lazier aspects of human nature that is careening our planet into destruction. He puts the book on a relatively familiar path that's reflective of current events, emphasizing a reliance on science to chase away religion (and vice versa). There's a pretty in-depth review of the history behind the world Remender has created and it's a pretty dire recap that works within the context of the issue. Remender jumps back and forth between the past and present, using a mysterious female character to carry the narrative.

The artistic approach used by Wayshak brings with it a griminess that's befitting of the world he's rendering. Characters are rife with emotion (mostly anger) and Wayshak relies on that as a means of reinforcing to the reader the state of the world. Characters interact with one another with a violent sense of purpose that gives the reader a sense of the devolution the world has undergone both physically and mentally. The panels are laid out with a basic format that is strictly adhered to, bringing a sense of order to the otherwise chaotic world. And Boyd's colors are a mix of brutal reds and washed out greys that give the book a post-apocalyptic finish.

Devolution #1 is a very poignant take on the rapidly decaying state of affairs in the world. The concept of a world falling apart physically and mentally in lockstep is nothing new, but Devolution #1 is a pretty brash take on it. Remender's diatribe comes off more as venting than preachy, giving readers a brutally honest glimpse at a possible future for our planet. Wayshak's illustrations are blunt in their presentation, yet still do a fantastic job of offering a pessimistic world of savagery. Devolution #1 is a great first issue that doesn't really trade in cheerful outcomes--instead, it offers up a rather depressed take on where our world may be heading.

Devolution #1 is in stores now.

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