If I had one big complaint about “DV8: Gods and Monsters” it’s that, despite strong character work, it lacks a central focus, something that suggests that the story is moving forward instead of being a series of spotlight issues on the members of the group as they live on a primitive alien planet. This issue doesn’t entirely address my concerns, but it does move in the right direction with its focus on Matthew Callahan, the most violent and sociopathic member of the group.
Callahan is taken by one of the tribes on the planet and asked to fight them. The tribe seems to put importance in combat skills, which Callahan thinks he has, but is shown up immediately. So, he uses his powers to tear one of them apart, passing out in the process. Upon waking, he is cleaned up and given breakfast before another attempt at fighting. This pattern continues with the tribe not fearing or hating him, seeing him for what he is: a hurt man with the potential to be a great warrior.
The tribe is based upon different Asian cultures, notably the Chinese and Japanese, it appears, and it’s an interesting character focus as Callahan finds some measure of peace with them. It seems that each member of the group is taken in by a tribe that reflects what they’ve needed most in their life with similar things happening with each of the members that we’ve seen to date. The DV8 group is made up of the damaged, screwed up gen-active kids and, here, they all find little homes where they’re accepted and given what they need. For Callahan, that’s respect and honor. It’s an interesting idea to base the series around, especially when the desires of different tribes can’t help but cause them to come into conflict with one another as they do here.
Rebekah Isaacs has been one of the pleasant surprises of this series and, in this issue, she gets to add to her impressive artistic resume by showing off her action abilities. So far, she’s shown that she can handle characters talking and showing a wide range of emotions, but she hasn’t had to draw fight scenes yet really. The fights between Callahan and the members of the tribe are shown with a lot of energy and fluid motion. The action is crisp and clear, but she also chooses the right moments to depict: the moments of characters mid-movement with the odd pause here and there. There’s a cinematic quality to her art here.
While the overall thrust of “DV8: Gods and Monsters” isn’t entirely clear, it is coming into focus with each issue. Brian Wood’s approach to the book is familiar in its highlighting one character each issue, but unconventional in its slowness and patience. Rebekah Isaacs’s art shares a similar patient quality, of not being in a rush, while still having a strong energy. It will be very interesting to see how the second half of this mini-series plays out.