Friday, November 23, 2012

DV8: Gods and Monsters

This was a total flier, purchased solely because Brian Wood wrote it.  I  know nothing of the artist, Rebekah Isaacs, nor anything about the characters in the story.  In fact, I have little to go on with Wildstorm, which was where these characters were published.

These are some damaged people with super powers.  There are 8 of them, all late teens or early twenties, I think.  The story is told from the perspective of one of them being interrogated by a disembodied voice after the team is recovered from a planet where they had been summarily dumped without explanation.  The team had done black ops for a now gone leader.  The members of the team often don't get along.

So, the interrogated member is Copycat, who can take control of other people and had a split personality but now seems to be just one personality. 

Frostbite appears to be a stable personality.  He can take the heat from any object or person.  He also seems to create some sort of shielding for himself.  Evo is a guy who's lupine in appearance and can become altogether feral.  Sublime can alter the density of her body from intangible to rock hard.  Threshold is a sort of superman.  Bliss can manipulate other people's emotions.  Freestyle is really smart and can calculate probabilities with great accuracy.  Powerhaus absorbs energy, becoming larger and stronger the more he absorbs.

At first they're all together, landing in the midst of a battle between a couple of tribes; however, they soon go off on their own paths, with each one finding a primitive tribe that reflects his or her own wants and personality.  Some are laid back and uninvolved.  Some are warlike and aggressive.  They end up warring on one another, which turns out to be entirely pointless because there's a meteor coming directly at the planet and will destroy it.

Despite all the warring only one of the team ends up a fatality.  The rest of them are retrieved from the planet by the people who put them there in the first place.  Turns out it was all a testing ground for them.  The people controlling them knew the meteor was coming to destory the planet and that nothing could be done about it.  They just waited until the last moment to see how the team would behave, both before the meteor was known to be approaching and after.

It's a book that explores the flaws of its cast of characters.  Too many of them were one note, though. They were just their powers and their major flaw, whatever it might be, with no conflicting impulses.  They were all one impulse.  This was particularly evident with Threshold and Bliss.  There was no subtlety to them.  Evo was nothing but feral.  Copycat, Frostbite, and Freestyle were really the heart of the story and the best developed, particularly Copycat and Frostbite.

Despite that limitation in character development, which I think is a combined product of corporate owned characters and a limited number of issue in which to tell a story, Wood and Isaacs told an engaging story.  Even with knowing nothing about the cast coming into it I was interested in knowing where they were going in this book.  It was clear that Copycat would survive and that the planet had exploded from the very beginning, yet Wood put forth a story that left me wanting to know what would happen with the rest of the cast, even the one note ones.  There was a hint of Greek myth to it all, with Powerhaus spending time with lotus eaters and Bliss leading Amazons.  In fact, each of the team served as a sort of god to his or her tribe, though the tribes seemed perfectly aware that they were not gods.  Only Evo was mistreated by a tribe.  I'm not sure why he didn't leave them, other than it was similar to the mistreatment that he got from his teammates.

It's a good one and done read.  I don't think I'd be terribly interested in reading any other DV8 stories, but this one was a good read.  At half price, it was certainly worth the while.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely loved DV8 and on this sole series I was hoping DC would give Wood a piece of the DC52 to work on. Instead he was thrown of of developing Supergirl, and instead we got a series by the two writers behind the Green Lantern movie. The story in that book is its weakest length.

    Wood has since moved on to write some great X-Men stuff at Marvel, reinvent Conan, and is writing The Massive. DC's loss.