What do you do when you stop seeing the light in the tunnel of your life? Take Melissa for example; she is married to a highly successful man who earns millions, she has a sister and a mom. True, the hubby is so busy making money to notice his beautiful wife and true, there is more than a little animosity between the sisters, mainly caused by the ill-health of their mother and to some extent, Melissa’s success by association. Melissa’s highlights of the week tend to be jogging with Hemmingway (her dog) and viewing a particularly racy painting. Then she meets Orlando and her whole world is turned around.
Co-creator Peter Milligan is a bit of a writing legend. His versatility knows no bound, having worked across the divide on a number of books, superheroes and Vertigo. He is even credited as having input into the character that would turn into Azrael and then Azbats, but hey, let’s not hold that against him! At first glance this book seems to fall into 50 Shades territory, both feature sex and a woman who is sexually and emotionally unfilled. The most visual difference is the choice of sexual partner, but in the reading, it comes to light that Melissa is a lot stronger character than the vapid Anastasia Steele. Milligan recognises this and spends a lot of time creating Melissa’s life, that despite the riches, does still carry elements that the reader can empathise with. The dialogue is filled with strong language, but it is not out-of-place or used out of context, creating a resonance between the reader and the feelings that Melissa has in her various situations.
Co-creator Leondro Fernandez supplies the art for the book, giving the book a very specific look and feel. Some of that will no doubt be created by the strong sexual content in the book. But, very much like the writing, there is more going on than the obvious. Thin lines give way to dark shadows, creating contrasts with the lines themselves giving the sense of elongated form and therefore a physical presence. This approach works across the board, with Melissa and Orlando to her Mom and her lunchtime friend, all the way to Hemmingway. Great line work is one thing, but when it coincides with the great colors provided by Cris Peter, accentuating the contrasts, something special is created.
The Discipline is going to be an odd book. With its graphic natures, it will garner a lot of fans, who may then end up disappointed as the book, very much like relationships move from the initial lust stage, travels along its way. The book is more than just sex which, rather than being its own conclusion, is actually the vehicle used for the journey. If you are looking for a dark story, with horror overtures with strong dialogue and compelling characters, then give this book a try.