In my review of the first issue of "DV8: Gods and Monsters," I wrote that "[Wood] hints at the combustible elements within the group, the in-fighting, and generally nasty personalities that some of the members possess, but never shows us... [but] by the end of the issue, the rifts between the characters and their damaged, selfish natures come out, promising an interesting series." That promise is followed up on in this week's issue. After the first issue provided the set-up of the gen-active group being stranded on an ancient Earth-like planet and breaking apart to rule their own tribes of followers, the series begins to look at each character's tribe with some depth. First up: Nikki Callahan, Bliss.
Bliss, along with her brother Matthew (Threshold), has always been one of the darker and unabashedly 'evil' characters in "DV8." Her powers to create immense pleasure or pain are wielded at a whim, screw the consequences. She has the power, so she can do what she wants. Usually that involves bending people to her will, making her an interesting first subject to focus on since you would imagine her role as goddess of a tribe would be one of the more extreme ones. And it is, but her journey to becoming a so-called goddess isn't what you'd expect.
Her experience with a tribe of Amazonian-like women gives her a chance to finally find meaning in her powers beyond manipulating others. When a labor goes wrong, endangering the life of the mother and child, Bliss is asked to use her powers to calm the mother and help ease her through the delivery. Using her powers in such a way is an eye-opener for her and solidifies her role in the tribe. What's more interesting is that that change isn't apparent when she confronts Frostbite and Copycat at the beginning of the issue. She seems just as damaged and twisted despite finding a place where she feels like she belongs.
A story like this could come off as cheesy, but Wood and Isaacs tell it in a suitably distanced fashion. By filtering Bliss's story through Copycat, it isn't as immediate and is, quite possibly, altered to reflect what Copycat hoped had happened, smoothing out the rough edges somewhat. Isaacs's clean, straight forward art presents the events in such a matter of fact manner that the cheesy sentimental elements aren't given a visual voice. Her style is such that if we see it happening, it seems factual, making the somewhat laughable elements less so, because it's not quite as dumb if that's what happened. The changes in Bliss are also made apparent in the art as she's noticeably angry and hardened prior to joining the tribe and much looser and content after.
While we don't get an extensive look at the geopolitics of the various tribes, Bliss' story is a good start with the final pages of the issue pushing to another member of the team, Powerhaus. "DV8: Gods and Monsters" #2 builds on the potential shown in the first issue with good writing, great looking art, and a clear direction that's both entertaining and interesting.