Will the end of the world finally end? Can there be rebirth and growth from Devolution #5, the final issue of the mini-series? Is it good?
Devolution #5 (Dynamite Entertainment)
Writer Rick Remender and artist Jonathan Wayshak ratchet up the insanity as Raja takes the fight to where her new enemies live, in a preposterous but ballsy way. There she meets the true mastermind behind Earth’s retrograde apocalypse, and it’s … a little unclear if we’re supposed to be surprised by this or not. Will Raja make a deal with the devil, or do what she’s set out to since issue #1?
The protagonist repeats the refrain of “pointlessness, blood and stupidity” enough that you get the idea she’s referencing the over-the-top, grindhouse action itself. If that’s truly all it were, Devolution might stand out as a better-than-average example of the genre.
Is It Good?
But as the story draws to a close, the focus is still muddled. Raja’s stance on faith pivots yet again, and the reader is left wondering why this thread was included in Devolution at all, considering it doesn’t add much to the overall narrative and was completely absent during the series’ second act.
Raja’s confronted with a nice Sophie’s choice at the end, but the identity of the person offering it up is more “huh?” than “wow!”. And the issue’s actual end is so abrupt that it doesn’t pique interest in a sequel, it forces the question of if the printer left some pages out.
Even Devolution‘s usual saving grace, the art, falters in the finale. Jonathan Wayshak does draw an amazing giant shark (something that actually DOES have living descendants, unlike all those pterodactyls), but the neat uses of perspective from every previous issue are noticeably absent in #5. Jordan’s Boyd’s colorful bursts are missing, too, making what should have been a powerful climax a drab, bland affair.
Between the simpler art and the overuse of repetition in the dialogue, the whole of Devolution #5 seems rushed and unfinished, as if the creative team were just trying to fill up space to meet a deadline. Remender’s griped in the past about the restrictions of corporate comics, so it’s a little strange to see a problem usually associated with the Big Two creeping into his creator-owned work.
Rick Remender is a great writer. Usually. An identity crisis prevented Devolution from coming together and clicking though, as philosophic questions flitted between grindhouse action and character focus shifted so quickly that the narrative suffered. The art of Jonathan Wayshak and Jordan Boyd was a draw for the overall mini-series, but even that succumbs to aimlessness in this final issue. Devolution #5 is a rushed conclusion to a disjointed series, one that could have been more focused with some editorial tidying.