Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Rebekah Isaacs
Review by: Eric Stuckart
There was an old comic that ran from 1996 to 1999 about a group of superhumans living in New York who were sent out on black-ops missions. The main thing that differentiated this ragtag group from the countless other superhero squads out there was the fact that most of the time they used their powers for more self-serving purposes, and they hated each other but worked together for their own survival.
Ten years later, Brian Wood – after years of trying to commission Wildstorm to green light this project – brings us a new tale of the group. A limited eight-issue series subtitled Gods and Monsters, DV8 tells the story of the group in a much different light. Rather than living in New York, they find themselves on a distant planet with no idea how they got there, and they have to put aside their differences long enough to try and figure out what’s going on. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work exactly as planned, as they still mostly hate each other.
The series starts out at the chronological end, with scientists interrogating Gem Antonelli, also known as “Copycat”, who has telepathic powers over people. As the book progresses, it is understood that the tales are the recollections of Gem as she answers the scientists’ questions.
Soon enough, it’s learned that the eight superhumans cannot even last one night together before one of them runs off to investigate strange noises in the distance. In a matter of days, it’s only Gem and Leon Carver, Frostbite, fending for themselves. They find that the other members have each adopted their own tribe on the planet, are living as gods and loving it.
Despite Gem and Leon’s attempts to convince them to try to find out why they are there and why they have translators embedded in their throats, allowing them to communicate with the locals, they’d rather enjoy being treated as gods. And besides, they’ve got bigger fish to fry. Nikki Callahan, the Bliss Goddess, is building up a female army of Amazonian strength, and she doesn’t like to play nice.
Rebekah Isaacs’ pencils nicely illustrate the story. There’s not a dull panel to be seen, and she has a particularly great knack for drawing facial expressions. Visually, it’s as beautiful to read as any comic, and Carrie Strachan’s colors only expand on the great artwork.
Brian Wood has a deep appreciation for the characters involved, as exemplified by his longtime attempts to get this off of the ground, and after only two issues has managed to convince this reviewer to continue to read the series. The interesting blend of suspense, mystery and science-fiction makes DV8: Gods and Monsters a great series for readers looking for something just a little off the beaten path. It might even create some interest in checking out the original series.
For more info, www.wildstorm.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the book courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.