Writer: Matt Kindt
Penciler: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Ryan Winn
Colorist: David Baron
Letterer: David Lanphear
I don’t read a ton of Valiant comics but when I do I find myself enjoying them. I recently picked up the entire runs of Bloodshot Reborn and Ninjak and devoured them in one day and was very impressed with both of them. I read 4001 AD a few weeks ago and although I haven’t read a lot of the new Rai I found it to be a compelling read with some beautiful artwork by Clayton Crain. Yet the book that has blown me away over the past year has been Divinity. Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine are crafting an incredibly compelling tale that is both mind bending but intensely emotional.
I’m a sucker for politics in comics, which is not a surprise since my occupation is breaking down government structures and explaining it to teenagers. I’m also a child who came of age in the dying breath of the Cold War but have a vivid memory of the mutual assured destruction promised by a nuclear winter. It was these memories and interests that originally drew me to Divinity. Well that and beautiful Trevor Hairsine artwork as he has been a favorite of mine since Cla$$ War and Ultimate Sinister Six. Divinity was the tale of Abram Adams, an orphan in the Stalin era of Soviet Russia who was picked to be part of an experimental space mission to the edges of reality. Adams was the lone survivor of the mission (or so we thought) and returns to present day earth in hopes of finding the family he left behind but instead runs afoul of many of the Valiant heroes. The book was unique in that time was jumbled as Abram was able to be everywhere at once so it was fluid and trippy. Divinity II, luckily by the same team, dealt with a second cosmonaut, Valentina Volkov, returning to earth. This time around Abram is brought into conflict with Valentina who is not only upset that Abram abandoned her at the edge of reality but also that he gave up on the Communist dream as Valentina is a true believer. Their conflict plays out over the four issues and it is enthralling, but then I love when comics delves into the most powerful of entities fighting one another, hence why I loved Miracleman so much.
Divinity III is finally here and once again the Valiant universe is being shattered. This time around Valiant is not only releasing the core Divinity III mini-series but also ancillary titles to help flush out the main story. Divinity III is a departure from the previous two mini-series as thankfully it does not deal with a third cosmonaut returning but rather it has created an alternate history where the Soviet Union not only won the Cold War but took over the entire world. I enjoy when publishers provide us with alternate history storylines, such as Marvel with the Age of Apocalypse, and when you mix in Cold War policies and politics I get giddy. Valiant has always been willing to play with the future but now they are experimenting with reality.
Divinity III #1 establishes the new Valiant universe and reimagines some of their greatest heroes who are now servants to the Soviet Dream and are more then willing to use their abilities to protect the USSR. Overseeing the heroes is Colin King who in the regular Valiant universe is known as Ninjak and he may be later here but in this issue he is our eyes for this new world. There is a lot of spy craft present in this issue with enough superhero action to appease a comic fan. The pacing is excellent as just when you may be getting bored with Colin and his interviews Kindt and Hairsine jump to an action sequence, reintroducing us to Valiant mainstays like Bloodshot, XO Manowar, and Shadowman. Abram himself is glaringly absent from the book but that just builds the suspense as how does the most powerful being in the universe get sidelined?
Divinity III #1 is a lot of set up for what is to come but I have faith in Matt Kindt. He has been a principle player in crafting Valiant comics over the past few years and he has done an excellent job of developing the Divinity mythos over the previous two minis. I also appreciate that Valiant is giving Trevor Hairsine time to complete these stories and not substituting in filler or guest artists. Hairsine is not a fast artist but he is well worth the wait. His artwork is beautiful with hyperrealism and an excellent grasp of page layout. I miss him in the Marvel universe but he seems to have found his place at Valiant and I am happy to follow him.
Verdict: Buy! Get in on the ground floor of the latest mini-series from Valiant. Kindt & Hairsine are crafting an excellent tale that is compelling and has more then enough mystery to leave me wanting more.If you’re a fan of alternate realities in comics this book is for you. If you love the Valiant universe then this book should be a lot of fun and if you are wondering what Valiant is all about the give this mini-series a try.