Monday, 13 February 2017

Divinity III: Shadowman & The Battle For New Stalingrad #1 - Valiant Entertainment

Undeniably “an essential standalone tale from the Stalinverse”, within which “the Communist-occupied streets of New York City” desperately try and rid themselves of their Soviet oppressors, Issue One of “Divinity III: Shadowman & The Battle For New Stalingrad” must have immediately captured the attention of its American audience with its opening obliteration of Liberty Island, courtesy of a barrage of Red Army rockets. However, if this “huge symbolic gesture” didn’t attain the desired effect then Scott Bryan Wilson’s subsequent narrative depicting the Roman goddess being replaced with an even larger copper statue of the Russian dictator Joseph Stalin most assuredly would have done.

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


  1. Well this one certainly passed under my radar, so many thanks for bringing it to my attention, Simon. If you deliberately posted that page featuring the dead cop with his guts spread everywhere just to hook me... it worked! I shall look out for this comic.

    1. Indeed I did Bryan. Its a one-shot well worth buying, and I've started collected "Divinity III" the mini-series too, just to see what its like.