REVIEW: Divinty III: Stalinverse Book 1

Valiant takes a step towards an alternative universe with this new Divinity series, which features a slew of recognisable characters, at least recognisable if you skint one eye and turn your head just so.  With a very handy one page of summary of this world, we get to see how this world has changed from our own.   From there, it’s throw the heroes into the mix time.

As you read the book, you are introduced to this worlds Bloodshot (no Bloodsquirt thank Lenin!), XO, Shadowman and Colin King.  Their names and to some extent, their faces may be the same but their lives are dramatically different.  I am not going to spoil any surprises for you; you will have to go pick this up.

Written by comic veteran and Valiant super guru Matt Kindt, the book reads like a cross between a Red Son story and Fatherland by Robert Harris.  Both feature an “almost ours” type of universe; the enjoyment of which largely depends on your love of the Valiant characters.  Kindt has his creative spoon in the cake mix as he layers on nuance  upon nuance, giving the reader no hope, at least for the majority of the book.  The dialogue works well with the uniformed approach to Mother Russia adding to level of control that this comic book’s government exudes over the world.

Trevor Hairsine provides the pencils with Ryan Winn adding the inks and what a pair they make.  Hairsine’s art may look interchangeable with a myriad of artists out there, but take a closer look. There is a subtle mix of styles in play; there are clean lines versus bulky lines, with Winn adding touches with Mignola-eque elements going up against the standard type of inks you would expect.  Between them, they create a darker universe that feels wrong, despite the normalcy.  This vibe is further enhanced by the restrained colors of David Baron, who somehow gives the book a not quite as bright look which effectively keeps the reader off-balance.

I am one of the few Crusader who doesn’t swoon at the thought of a new Valiant book.  That said, I am very impressed with this first issue, enough to hold my “punchline never hits the highpoint of the setup” cynicism in check..  Kindt has trifled with my expectation level.  I hope he and his artistic cohorts are up to the challenge.

Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Colors  – 5 Stars

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TREVOR HAIRSINE

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