DV8 was the X-Force to Gen13’s New Mutants. Darker and edgier in an almost comically hyperbolic fashion, the members of DV8 were all gen-active like the Gen13 crew, but they were the damaged, screwed up kids that didn’t mind killing or being greedy little pricks. That their spin-off series was helmed by Warren Ellis and Humberto Ramos gives you an idea of the kind of debaucheries these kids got up to. The series’ first issue even came with ‘seven deadly sins’ variants. After Ellis and Ramos departed, the book languished and became tamer. Now, it’s back and it’s definitely not a return to its original, edgy roots, which is good and bad.
Brian Wood has said that relaunching “DV8” has been something he’s tried to make happen for years. “Gods and Monsters” #1 is an interesting take on the concept. The DV8 crew are dropped on what they think is Earth, but is cleaner and far less advanced. And there’s a red moon. And two suns. Slowly, members go off and never return, almost like a horror movie. Told by Copycat to whoever dropped them on the planet at a later date, she mostly relates details told to her by Frostbite since she didn’t land until much later for some reason.
Wood teases out the story well, but his character work is weak. He hints at the combustible elements within the group, the in-fighting, and generally nasty personalities that some of the members possess, but never shows us. Most of the arguments and confrontations happen off-panel, only told to us that they happened. Obviously, these characters have been together long enough that they wouldn’t be at one another’s throats constantly, but they lack that darkness and edge that makes them appealing and different. It’s still there, just not in the conversations that we see. However, by the end of the issue, the rifts between the characters and their damaged, selfish natures come out, promising an interesting series.
Joining Wood is Rebekah Isaacs on art and she has a very clean style that reminds me of an animated show or movie. Her art is direct and easy to comprehend, presenting events and characters in as uncluttered a manner as possible. The pacing of the issue is relaxed somewhat, giving her room to show off the world that DV8 has landed in. It looks like an undeveloped Earth for the most part, complete with human-like creatures. Her character work on Threshold is her best, making him look uneasy and somewhat skeevy despite his handsome features. A scene where he encounters some of the inhabitants of the planet is a great case of visual storytelling without any words. Isaacs is a great asset for this comic.
“DV8: Gods and Monsters” #1 sets up the premise of the series well, but doesn’t quite deliver on showing the characters interacting. However, the plot set up at the end of the issue suggests that the lack of confrontation between characters will be remedied sooner rather than later. Fans of the original series will no doubt enjoy this and it is new reader friendly for those that missed the original.