|DIVINITY III: SHADOWMAN & THE BATTLE FOR NEW STALINGRAD No. 1, February 2017|
Admittedly, for those patriots unable to stomach such an affront to the ‘virtuous’ American values of Libertas, the majority of this twenty-two page periodical does frantically try to readdress the balance by having Jack Boniface hastily lead a revolt against his swaggeringly confident “commie” overlords. But the heroic uprising is entirely anticipated by the annexed authorities, and thus, despite outnumbering their hated foes, the opening third of this comic is ultimately dedicated to the Soviet enforcement officers gunning down large numbers of unarmed rioters, stabbing them through the head with combat knives, gouging out their eyes with black leather gloves, and even attacking them with chainsaws…
Such utter wanton violence is apparently entirely justified by the pen of the publisher’s “rising star” as the mass hapless slaughter convinces the titular character to “resurrect the sacred power of his people”, “raise an army of the dead to meet the Russians where they stand”, and bravely battle the dictatorship’s premier super-powered comrades, X-O Manowar and Komandar Bloodshot; two of Valiant Entertainment’s most recognisable properties who have had a severe facelift following the installation of Joseph McCarthy as a “puppet President of the United States” in 1951.
Robert Gill’s contribution to this “Stalinverse” one-shot is arguably just as unsettling as Wilson’s scintillating script supposedly corroborating that communism is “the great equalizer, brother!”. For whilst the artist’s breakdowns of the New Yorkers’ bloodily remonstrating with their tormentors generally consist of graphic mutilations of the most eye-watering kind, his depiction of Shadowman trading punches with the sneering X-O Manowar are bone-crunchingly good, and really add to the sheer brutality of the close-combat conflict.
|Writer: Scott Bryan Wilson, Artist: Robert Gill, and Color Artist: Andrew Dalhouse|