Monday, August 21, 2017

Review - Divinity #0 (@ValiantComics)


"At the end of my journey I encountered the fantastic. And the terrible. Something truly...unknown."

Universe-altering events are nothing new in comics. Typically, there's a big bad threatening everything and a group of characters normally at odds with one another come together to save everything. The aftermath can be more intriguing as decisions are made en route to saving that have lasting consequences, as is the case in Divinity #0 from Valiant Comics. The issue is written by Matt Kindt, illustrated by Renato Guedes and lettered by Dave Lanphear.

DIVINITY, a lost Russian cosmonaut newly returned to Earth with god-like powers, has successfully restored the world to order after the reality-altering event known as the Stalinverse. But how can a man - even one with near-divine abilities - know for certain that the planet has been truly restored in full? To make sure, Divinity must bear witness to the world as it now stands - heroes, villains, gods, and all - to ensure the rightful order of the Valiant Universe!

Kindt's approach in Divinity #0 is something of a universe reset for Valiant and its characters. He takes Divinity on a tour of the Valiant universe and allows him to interact with all the characters, but it also serves as a way to get the reader on the same page as well. The entire issue is almost a primer on where things currently stand in the universe and Kindt uses Divinity as the vehicle for clarifying where everything (and everyone) stands. Kindt does a really nice job of blending together Divinity's stream of conscious dialogue with a tact that makes Divinity an embodiment of conscience for the other characters. All of the characters are fiercely independent though and Kindt doesn't allow them to accept Divinity's counsel which keeps previous characterizations largely intact.

Because Divinity moves through the issue as essentially a spectre, Guedes' ethereal illustrations are a perfect match. The painted style really gives the book the look of emotional heft that matches what Divinity the character represents. Each of the Valiant universe characters included all maintain their recognizable appearances, making it easy for the reader to follow along with Divinity. And the panel arrangement is very engaging, allowing Guedes to create everything from establishing shots to sweeping views to focused renderings of characters and their reactions. The colors are tap into the entirety of the spectrum, with Guedes emphasizing the various characters and settings with colors that are typically associated with them.

Divinity #0 is a very strong issue that doesn't quite reset the Valiant universe, but it does help the reader know where everyone stands. Divinity is tremendously powerful and is doing a check of the world after the Stalinverse. Kindt's narrative is informative without being overbearing. Guedes' artwork is gorgeous and every page could stand on its own as a piece of art. Divinity #0 is a powerful issue for fans of Valiant comics as it touches on many of the popular characters and sets them all up for the road ahead.

Divinity #0 is available now.

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