REVIEW: Divinity #1

Story: Matt Kindt
Art: Trevor Hairsine/Ryan Winn
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Colors: David Baron
Publisher: Valiant Comics
Release Date: February 11, 2015

This is the second book in as many weeks that I’ve read that has left me pleasantly confused. While that may seem like an oxymoron, trust me, it’s an easy enough notion to reconcile. Reading Divinity is a lot like reading good poetry – concrete imagery that  toys with semi-traditional concepts in a novel, and ultimately exhilarating, way.

We’re introduced to Abram Adams, a cosmonaut, through a series of flashback sequences that reveal his unique history. In his younger days, at the height of the Space Race/Cold War between the USA and Russia, Adams is sort of a cross between Reed Richards and Mr. Terrific – extremely intelligent, curious, and good-natured – and of course the Soviet government takes notice. He’s put through a rigorous training process to prepare for a clandestine mission, one that Mother Russia hopes will once and for all solidify its superiority over the Americans.

I approach deities who also happen to be the main characters of comics with a healthy amount of trepidation. In part because it’s so difficult to do them well; either we’re constantly reminded of just how inadequate humanity is in comparison to them or how much the “god” has lost, in terms of human emotion, by well, becoming a god. For some reason, I didn’t get that sense of agitation that warned of impending cliché with this book. In fact, what I felt was probably the opposite – eager anticipation — as I turned the pages.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a book that credited both a penciler and inker, but Divinity does, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m not a Luddite or anything, I just feel like there’s something more thorough about hand-drawing and inking a book than in laying everything out using only a software suite. Yeah, I’m old-fashioned that way, I guess.

I get the idea that Kindt and Hairsine are assembling miscellaneous, and often disparate properties, and attempting to create something (a former “someone”) that is literally more than the sum of its parts in Adams. This book is a       “slow-burn” read, definitely, and I don’t expect to be fully in the know until about the 3rd or 4th issue.

Given the immensity of the character, I think that’s appropriate, but it’s a method that may try the patience of some readers. Yes, I know this is a miniseries, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this book led to a continuing and lengthy run as there are some undertones present even in this first issue that I think could be mined well past a six-issue spread. The crossover potential with the another Valiant title, and I’m thinking Ivar might best be able to handle this, is apparent, too, so that’s something else that might be explored.

Eventually you are going to get tired of me saying how great a streak Valiant is on currently, but until then, I’m going to keep saying it. Every time I think that this company has outdone itself, they manage to amaze me a little more. In addition to the more seasoned characters that have been reintroduced, Divinity offers us a new character and world to discover.  If this opening issue is any indication, there’s plenty to be on the look out for and even more to be optimistic about as regards Abram and his homecoming.Divinity_insertBy: A.C.

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