Stranded on an alien planet with human-esque beings that are reminiscent of ancient tribes, the members of DV8 have steered these tribes into a war. Through their powers, they’ve taken control and aren’t content to allow the others to have their own space. They must lead their tribes to battle. The series has built to this confrontation and this issue both delivers on and subverts that expectation. As Gem narrates at the beginning and the end of the issue: “It was the twilight of the gods.” It’s also a pretty good comic book.
The issue begins with action as the various tribes gear up for war with some of the ‘gods’ more than happy to participate, seeing it more as a sport or entertainment. Wood sets up the conflict with each participating for different reasons – some because they want to, some because the tribe they’re affiliated with demands it, and some because, with everyone else participating, they have to or be wiped out. There’s an odd sense of inevitability about the conflict after numerous issues of people like Bliss, Threshold, and Sublime all giving in to their more aggressive and violent tendencies, and bringing those qualities out in their tribes.
Wood’s narrative can only lead here, because of his strong grasp of the characters. They’re horrible, violent, petty, socially awkward, damaged people and of course they would fall into a war. They don’t know what else to do. Only Freestyle stands apart from the group as the only one to not try and rule over the indigenous people, to actually use her knowledge to improve their lives. She stayed above the petty crap her teammates decided to wallow in, so much so that she’s mostly been forgotten until now, and stands as the true harbinger of doom. It’s an interesting twist that happens two-thirds of the way through the issue and makes the events of the finale definitely unpredictable.
The series so far has had a little bit of action, but Rebekah Isaacs gets a chance to let loose with some violence for a few pages and then rein it back in. She seems equally at home with fast-paced, brutal violence, and the emotional turmoil of what the characters face at the end of the issue. Instead of falling apart and delivering rushed, unfinished art as the series has progressed, her pencils have become tighter and bolder. With Carrie Strachan, the art continually becomes more refined; it’s cleaner, brighter, and leaps off the page more than it did when the series began.
Readers won’t have to wait long with the final issue of “DV8: Gods and Monsters” scheduled to ship on November 3 and, after this issue, a longer wait would be difficult to live with. Wood and Isaacs have built to this issue and, then, brush everything aside for an even larger threat that shows just how useless and stupid the actions of the group have been. They’ve spent the story thinking they were better than the people they’ve ruled over, but they’re just as weak and helpless as they are. It’s a powerful cliffhanger to lead into the conclusion.