Review Brew: Divinity II #1
Written By: Matt Kindt
Art By: Trevor Hairsine
Inks By: Ryan Winn
Color Art By: David Baron
With the NHL playoffs now in full swing, I can finally get back to reading and reviewing some comics. It was a good week to come back as well; in that the highly anticipated (at least for me) sequel to Valiant’s Divinity hit the stands. In a line that’s very tight nit in terms of continuity, this book and Rai are always interesting corners of the world we don’t and really can’t explore in the main line titles. That said, the expectations for this were high, and Kindt, Hairsine, and company deliver ten fold.
If you didn’t read the first series (which you absolutely should), a quick introduction to the world would be 3 Russian Cosmonauts are sent out to the edge of space during the space race of the 50s and 60s. In the last series, Abram Adams encounter’s something that alters him, and gives him incredible abilities. Right off the bat, Valiant does it right by summing that up on page one, just to seat us right back into the world. This series, as we come to find out, delves into what happened to the other two Cosmonauts. This issue does an excellent job in diving into the past of Valentina Volkov, who will seemingly be the lead of this series, as she comes into contact with that which changed Abram. What is really striking about this, however, is how Kindt takes a character we know nothing about in Valentina, and makes us immediately sympathetic. We are taken through her rough childhood of being a street orphan in the Soviet Union, to a domineering father figure as she grows, and finally to the training needed to become a Cosmonaut. Kindt manages to build an incredibly deep and complex character, built not only by the circumstances of her life, but also by the real life reality that was the Soviet Union’s society of bread lines and paranoia. Again, all this building is done in one issue. And while the last series dealt with Abram coming to modern times and dealing with reality, this series, as we come to find out, will dig much deeper into that, as Valentina returns to Earth, but straight into Russia. Spoilers ahead: the one aspect that was a little too jarring for me was the introduction of Putin on the last page. There’s so much to be said about him in his own right, that drawing him into this series, when a fictional Russian Premier would’ve sufficed, may bring on more baggage than this series needs. Then again, seeing his face was quite a shock.
I think I said this when I reviewed an issue from the first Divinity series, but Trevor Hairsine really stepped it up yet again. This is the clearest and crispest his art has ever looked to me. His sketchy and somewhat jagged line works perfectly to bridge the two worlds of the dirty and dark Soviet Union and the crazy unknown. What really stood out, though, was the storytelling, and I think that speaks a lot to the clarity in Hairsine’s line here. That said, he and Ryan Win should always be paired together from now on. We can see in the process material we get in the back matter, Winn embellished just how you want the best inkers to do. There’s a sense of highlighting the story through the inks, and at no point do the pencils or inks become overwhelming by themselves, working well in tandem. It also doesn’t hurt that David Baron is putting in eye popping work with the colors here either. I’m used to Baron’s work on other Valiant books, but this was the first where I got to see him stretch the palette to be glowing neon colors for the space scenes. While the line work does an excellent job to meld the worlds to be one cohesive book, Baron gives each place the distinction it needs. On top of that you’ll notice on each page in the Soviet Union (or later Russia) that one color is poppin right off the page, usually in the Red or Yellow family. We don’t talk about storytelling in the color art enough, and David Baron puts on a show in that here.
Valiant continues to add quality to their line with this sequel series. The creative team on this book is firing on all cylinders, and you will not want to miss it.
4.5 Little Mice out of 5