The Soviets send an astronaut to the very edges of space, a 30-year space voyage that’s not supposed to come back. But Abram Adams does come back – or, at least, something in Abram Adams’s body does come back. Something powerful. Something mysterious. Something… divine.
And then there’s a superhero fight.
In a word: Anticlimactic.
Recommend: I might, after reading a few more of Valiant’s comics.
I have never not been burned by comics. My efforts to immerse myself in Marvel, in order to legitimize my affection (read: self-aware yet sycophantic adoration) for the MCU has mostly resulted in frustration, dating back to before I went to college. (I just wanted to get to the origin of Kid Loki, but you just have to buy about $200’s worth of comics to get the proper buildup.) I’ve had more luck with DC, if only because my library has more origin-type volumes for DC heroes. Although I’m still not over that Batgirl collection being marked Volume 1 and yet containing distinctly not-number-one issues. If I may:
If you’re wondering what this has to do with Divinity, it’s because the same issues pop up here. I am no comic book aficionado, obviously; it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve never heard of Valiant Comics. Apparently, they’re a thing. A superhero thing. Guess what I didn’t surmise from Goodreads’s summary of Divinity? That’s right: that I would be dealing with established superheroes like X-O Manowar and Livewire. I saw the gorgeous cover art on Hoopla, noticed that it was #1 in a series of the same name, and assumed that I would be safe from the perils of the Comic Book Labyrinth.
My dear readers, you know what they say about ‘assume.’ This is a warning to my comic book-challenged fellows: This is not a standalone comic.
On to the proper review.
I adored the synopsis of Divinity. It sounded like something right up my alley: a bit historical, a bit scifi, a bit surreal horror. A bit, in other words, like an episode of The Twilight Zone. And it did start that way. You could almost hear Rod Serling’s voice in the voiceover (until you realize who is doing the talking). I am terrified of space – my terror grows in direct proportion to the length of space you travel – and the idea of meeting… something… out in the outer limits of the galaxy? I couldn’t wait for that to be explored in intimate, horrifying detail.
But guess what happens, about halfway through?
If you guessed “superhero fight,” you’d be exactly right! Thanks for reading my lame-o summary.
Divinity drops the ball by abruptly switching the genre from “supernatural/historical space horror” to “superpowered knock-down drag-out.” The tonal change may have been more compelling if I were versed in Valiant’s superhero world, if I knew the heroes sent in to control Codename Divinity and why they were there. And yet, I’m skeptical even of that. The heroes have no emotional stake in the battle. There’s no sense of history or camaraderie between them. The way the heroes defeat the Divine takes very little time to develop, and, again, has nothing to do with the Divine.
And, of course, Abram Adams had a wife and child he wanted to come back to. Guess what? They’re dead now. But their ghosts can still come back, just for him, to tell him that what he’s doing is wrong (is it, though?), tell him they had happy lives, and then disappear, having allowed the superhero team Unity to take the Divine down while he was in his trance of manpain.
It’s all just overwhelmingly underwhelming, a giant disappointment of concept execution.
Again, I might revisit Divinity if I read more of Valiant’s offerings (I’m interested in Livewire, myself), and there are two sequels to Divinity which I might check out from Hoopla if/when they get it. And I realize that I have much less of a right to review this comic, since it’s my first Valiant attempt. (Ha, unintentional wordplay.) So maybe all I can say is this: don’t try Divinity as a Valiant gateway. It doesn’t work. At all.
Storytelling and Divinity: I really enjoy the conceit of time as a book, a physical story that the Divine can flip through at will, lingering on certain “pages” of Abram’s life. As unsubtle as it might be, it retains a certain poetry, especially given the impact scifi novels had on Abrams and his ambitions.