Finally – a comic book for the Fifty Shades of Grey crowd! I kid, of course, but any story about a sexually repressed woman who encounters a mysterious and dominating man is bound to draw comparisons to E.L. James’ erotic phenomenon. Now, your mom may not be picking up the first issue of The Discipline from Image Comics, but this new series could be right up your alley. As I’m not Christian Grey, I’ll stop teasing and get to answering that age-old question – is it good?
The Discipline #1 (Image Comics)
If you were to judge the latest offering from writer Peter Milligan and artist Leandro Fernandez by its first cover, you might assume you’re in for a campy erotic horror story. Thankfully, your reading experience is in the hands of two skilled creators with quality series like X-Statix and Queen & Country in their rear-view mirrors.
Like many 23-year-olds, Melissa Peake doesn’t have the life she desires – unless arguments with her sister over their sick mother and a crumbling marriage are considered ideal. On a sexual front, Melissa is so bored and frustrated that she finds herself at a museum staring at a sexually charged Goya painting on a weekly basis.
The museum is where the mysterious (and, uh, creepy) Orlando introduces himself to Melissa and informs her they’ll meet again in two days…before grabbing her crotch.
I told you he was creepy!
But Melissa doesn’t seem to agree. What wouldn’t work for most guys seems to do the trick for her, and before long they’re on their first date at a slaughterhouse (because nothing screams love more than the bloody head of a cow about to break off its hanging body). Orlando hints at the fact that he’s testing Melissa and she has potential. The dude’s a smooth talker, for sure.
But those are just some of human elements of the story which, to quote Image’s press release, goes “beyond human.” Orlando is no ordinary man, and if The Discipline’s opening pages are to be believed, Melissa won’t remain her dull self for long.
Did I mention there’s sex stuff? There’s nudity too, but it’s all there to take the story to the next level. It’ll be interesting to see where Milligan is going with this tale, which he considers to be his edgiest story yet. And this is the guy who wanted to resurrect Princess Diana in the pages of X-Statix!
While The Discipline’s subject matter may not be every reader’s cup of tea, there’s no denying the appeal of Fernandez’s dynamic art. Sometimes moody, other times downright horrifying – I wouldn’t be surprised if this comic’s smooth and sexy visuals don’t seduce you into coming back for issue 2.
Overall, I’d recommend The Discipline to any comic fans who crave a little excitement in their pull lists, whether they’re exhausted from Marvel event series or frustrated with DC relaunches. At the same time, I wish the story was a little fresher. I feel like we’ve seen many of The Discipline’s main plot points and character beats before.
We just might not be willing to admit where we’ve seen them before.