Thursday, April 25, 2013

Flawed Superheroes

DV8:  Gods and Monsters

by Brian Wood

Illustrated by Rebekah Isaacs

Published by WildStorm

5 Out of 5 Stars

I had never heard of DV8, which apparently had a series run before this stand-alone storyline was released.  And chances are I would never have stumbled across it if it weren't for my local comic book guru, Dave, picking it up and saying, "Here, Amanda.  You're going to love this."  Yet another reason to support your local comic book store--it certainly beats the shit out of a generic and often bizarrely inaccurate "Amazon Recommends" suggestion.

But I digress.  DV8 is about a group of genetically advanced superhumans.  "But, wait, isn't this just an X-Men rip-off?" you might be tempted to query.  Sure, the surface similarities are there, but DV8's team of misfits is just that--misfits.  Wood isn't afraid to take them to some dark and twisted places that make the X-Men look like a bunch of goody two-shoes.  And I'm not hating on the X-Men because I do so love them.  The difference here is that X-Men have moral dilemmas, but you know they'll always end up on the right side.  With the DV8 group, you never really know what they'll do.  It's basically what you would realistically expect if people were given superpowers.  Most of us spend our entire lives gaining control of our own impulses, desires, and personalities.  Now complicate that by giving us powers that set us apart from "mere mortals" and you can see where it doesn't take long to find oneself in some morally grey areas.

In DV8, the team (Powerhaus, Evo, Copycat, Bliss, Sublime, Frostbite, Threshold, and Freestyle) are teleported to a planet where primitive tribes fight one another for control.  Having seen the DV8s fall from the sky, the indigenous people believe the gods have fallen to earth.  When they witness the powers possessed by each, it only bolsters this superstitious belief.  The team has no idea why they're here, but assume there must be a purpose as they've each been equipped with a voice chip that acts as a translator between them and the natives.  It's not long until the group splinters along tribal lines, driven by their own issues to either help the people that worship them or abuse their power as "gods" to the point they become monsters. Each chapter follows a single member of the team and his or her specific relationship to the tribe he or she has adopted--and the war that looms in the shadow of their collective egos.

While the ultimate reason for why the team was sent to the planet was  a little bit of a letdown, I enjoyed these characters and the artwork so much that I just didn't care. 

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