Look at that big f-----g spider! Isn’t it gnarly? I mean, there never were spiders that big to begin with, so I’m not sure how this one appears in Devolution #3, especially when the atmosphere’s oxygen concentration isn’t high enough to support it, and there’s probably a cap on how big an animal with an exoskeleton can possibly get. But s--t, it sure is perty!
Devolution #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
It’s all horrifyingly beautiful, really. Artist Jonathan Wayshak and colorist Jordan Boyd outdo themselves once again in Devolution #3, filling the pages with impossible, angry plants and monstrous insects reminiscent of Them. And their timing with the (prevalent) action sequences borders on the cinematic. Consecutive panels with only slightly shifted subjects create the feeling of a slow-motion helicopter crash, the shredded vehicle grinding to a halt in the desert sand.
The use of perspective is still outstanding, too — the reader looking down the spider’s back before the chopper tumbles, and its victims looking up at the beast’s drooling mandibles.
Is It Good?
Sadly, the story’s about as bad as the art is good. Well, there are some interesting narrative choices that pleasingly evade ordinary tropes, but other rules are broken seemingly for the hell of it and to destructive effect. I think the original protagonist is still in this issue, but it’s honestly hard to tell with the constantly shifting character focus. Again, that’s not a terrible stunt to try, a priori, but Rick Remender’s execution is a little lacking in this case. There’s absolutely no telling where the final issues of this mini-series will go, which I guess is exciting, but predictability isn’t always bad, especially if the alternative is a lack of cohesion.
I want to hope that all the plates set spinning in Devolution‘s debut issue will finally shatter at the end, but even if they do, the final smash will likely be disappointing. So many elements from the initial set-up have been missing for so long that if the quarantined space colonists do ultimately swoop in to save the day, it’ll seem more like a deus ex machina than Chekhov’s gun going off. And what of Raja’s thoughts on religion? She doesn’t even seem to have thoughts anymore.
Devolution #3 is a bare-bones story supported by superior art. Plenty of stuff happens, but it’s a lot of whiz-pow that seems largely unrelated to either of the two preceding issues, making it hard to identify a continuous narrative throughout the series. It’s a high risk, experimental decision that isn’t necessarily doomed from conception, but here falls short of the desired high reward. It’s impossible to predict what will happen in Devolution‘s final issues, but it’s a good guess the end product will wind up unsatisfying.