After an excellent run last year, writer Matt Kindt and artist Trevor Hairsine return to the Valiant mythos with a follow up to Divinity.
Is it good?
Divinity II (Valiant Entertainment)
- I’m not sure what’s worse—having to eat dead rats during a Russian winter, or being stranded on the edge of the cosmos.
- This Volkov lady doesn’t mess around.
- Never trust your fellow cosmonaut if they’re willing to make you vomit light.
- YIKES. Volkov is even more brutal than I thought.
- …and she just may have met her perfect match.
Is It Good?
When this series was first announced, I was hesitant to read it for a couple reasons.
First, I really enjoyed the original Divinity series. Followups to unique concepts like that are often just simple retreads—or just plain bad. There was also the whole thing about making a real life world leader/jerk into a main character, which of course was heavily publicized before the book even came out. Stunts like this (that are announced beforehand) can often serve as a giant red flag that we’re in for some bad storytelling.
Well, I’m happy to report that I was dead wrong on both counts.
The story itself is exceptionally good. While there are a few familiar story beats from Abram’s tale, Volkov reacts VERY differently to her otherworldly experience. Her present motivations and behavior are constantly linked by deftly integrated flashbacks to her former life. While the two settings of Divinity II couldn’t be any more different, Kindt does a masterful job making each play off the other, transitioning seamlessly back and forth as her prior experiences directly influence her present course. When Volkov eventually makes her brutal decision for survival, it’s still shocking, but completely in line we’ve what we’ve been shown.
Much like Abram, her return to earth is heartbreaking, but for completely different reasons. All the things he tried to break away from are where Volkov finds much of her strength. Watching the Soviet Union fall hurts her just as much as it hurt him to leave the woman he loved.
When he finally arrives, Volkov’s dedication to The State (and its dominance over all those who oppose it) make her meeting with Putin a truly chilling moment. Even his supporters would agree that he’s a scary man. Now he has a god who wants to help him bring Russia back to what they both consider it’s rightful glory.
On the art side of things, Hairsine’s pencils are fantastic as usual. Ryan Winn’s inks and David Baron’s colors are even better than the first series, making each image seem to pop off the page. They also do a superb job transitioning between settings in Russia and the end of the universe (which probably feels like the same place if you’ve never been).
So yeah, that ending might have worked as a publicity stunt, but it also stuck the landing, making this a gem of an opening issue. I’m all types of excited now to see what happens when hen Volkov and Abrams meet again…and Russia’s real life leader/force of nature makes the meeting happen.