Welcome back to this Black Ship of ours. This week I bring you another must read comic from my pull list, Divinity from Valiant Comics. It is written by Matt Kindt (MIND MGMT; Revolver; Super Spy), with pencils by Trevor Hairsine (Captain America; Judge Dredd; Cla$$war), inks from Ryan Winn (Spawn; The Darkness; WildC.A.T.S.), and colors by David Baron (JLA; Batman Beyond; Green Arrow: Year One).
Of the various genres Valiant explores through their books, the publisher’s sci-fi stories are usually my favorite, titles like Rai and Faith. Divinity, however, is really in a class of its own, bringing raw emotion and energy to each and every panel. I’ve read the first two story arcs, and both have been great in terms of art, pacing, and exploring a central theme.
The tension provides an excellent sense of urgency, despair, and confusion. I love science fiction that presents the sad truth about space travel; it’s lonely. It can be difficult to craft an engaging and fast-paced story while following a lonesome space traveler, though Divinity does it just right by jumping from dynamic action sequences to more melancholy images of abandonment and isolation.
This page is a vivd depiction of the interstellar vastness that the art team was able to evoke. Outer space seems infinite here, on an almost mystical scale, with the cosmonauts completely enveloped by it. So many sci-fi stories render the cosmos without taking any creative liberties, but really the limit is your imagination. The allure of interstellar travel is that we know almost nothing about it.
Divinity succeeds at restoring a sense of wonder to the space through which it navigates.
Its theme also hit me close to home. It’s about a selfish adventurer deciding to abandon those who love him. By the time he finally realizes his mistake and decides to return, it’s too late – he’s lost everything. The story then transitions into dealing with the protagonist’s trauma and regret. He tries to cope with his loss by helping others, though his building of a false reality adds a tragic tinge to his recovery.
I felt that the pacing in this installment was a little off. Nothing that harmed the story; rather, it just wasn’t as tight as the first arc. On occasion the use of time travel and teleportation left me wondering where or when the story went. I like to think that this jarring effect is deliberate, as an extension of what Divinity II aims to investigate thematically.
Where the previous volume dealt with regret and loss, this one deals with anger and frustration as the story follows one of the three cosmonauts from the first arc. Its narrative seems to build toward a moral, that even the smallest act of kindness can make lifelong friends, especially in dire straits. Of course it’s easy to be kind when everything is going well. This second storyline presents the difficulties of balancing selflessness with the need to survive.
Both volumes of Divinity are well worth reading, especially for fans of science fiction. As always thanks for stopping by, and all hands on deck! Let’s keeps this Black Ship sailing!