Divinity is a significant step for Valiant: the first major new character to debut since the publisher re-launched its comic book line.
Valiant has had great success reinvigorating or entirely recreating existing characters in its portfolio. How does the company fare with a new creation?
Divinity follows the story of Abram Adams, an orphan raised by the USSR. At the height of the Cold War space race, the Soviets sent Abram on a deep-space mission, with little hope he might one day return. More than 50 years later, Abram arrives in the Australian Outback possessed of god-like powers.
Abram seeks to give people what they most want and quickly attracts a band of acolytes. His power and following bring him into conflict with Unity, the super-team of the Valiant Universe. Abram holds Unity off single-handed and only teamwork and some crucial luck give the heroes a chance against him. This first book ends with Abram in Unity’s custody, with the heroes wondering if they’re on the right side.
Writer Matt Kindt crafts an intriguing set-up for Divinity, steeped in serious sci-fi. Abram proves an interesting focal character, if not one always easy to relate to. Kindt does some nice things with the contrast of the world Abram remembers and the much different one he returns to. He comes off sympathetic in many ways and scenes of Abram confronting the life he left behind, that went on without him, are some of the most affecting in Divinity. The narrative skips back and forth through time and space at a rapid clip, but Kindt mostly does a good job of keeping things on track. But a lot of this material can work a head trip on readers, especially those not used to some of the wilder conventions of sci-fi storytelling. On the whole, Kindt is pretty successful at melding sci-fi into the comic book world.
The art team is crucial to the success of Divinity, giving it a visual style that ranks among the best of the new Valiant. Trevor Hairsine, Ryan Wynn and David Baron work as a tight, seamless unit. They’re equally adept with Earthbound flashbacks to the days leading up to Abram’s mission as they are with complex action and adventure sequences. They craft some lovely, dreamy space-set scenes wrapped in a soft, shimmering aura. The artists also use some smart and innovative layouts and page designs to move the action forward dynamically. The character design for Abram is an interesting throwback, a stylized take on a Cold War-era cosmonaut space suit whose retro aesthetic makes Abram stand out in the Valiant crowd. Divinity packs a lot of drama and emotion into its panels; that elevates the book beyond a mere cool-looking sci-fi romp. The art is good enough to really sell Abram as a character, not just a cosmic extraction.
While Valiant has done well updating its existing library, launching new concepts within its universe is crucial for the publisher’s sustained success. The first Divinity arc leaves a lot of questions to explore, but with a solid set-up and beautiful art, seeing where the creators take this concept is an agreeable prospect.
Originally published at thunderalleybcpcom.ipage.com on July 22, 2015.