"Devolution #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Rick Remender
Illustrated by Jonathan Wayshak
Colored by Jordan Boyd
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 20th, 2016
Depending on who you speak to, we're either on our way to destroying ourselves as a species or it's already happened. That's a pretty grim way to look at things, but it's certainly a possibility when you look around. Devolution takes that a step further with an absolutely brilliant hook. In an effort to solve all of humanity's problems, we end up ruining everything. As a result, mankind is dialing the clock back on evolution, going back to unintelligent cavemen. This disease spread to other species, so now the planet is as it was ages ago, albeit with a lot more concrete. There are a few survivors that for some reason are not affected by this virus, but can they save humanity? More importantly, is it worth saving?
I'm resisting the urge to spoil the catalyst for all this change in Devolution because it's so damn good. It's one that makes total sense and is rife with possibilities. The creative team drops you immediately into this post-apocalyptic world before pulling back and describing how we got to this point. It's rather exposition-heavy, but it's riveting, so it's easy to get immersed pretty quickly.
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Artist Jonathan Wayshak brings this devastation to life in vivid detail. There's an impressive double-page spread early on showing what's left of Las Vegas. It's overgrown by vegetation and the buildings and cars lay in ruins. Mammoths and pterodactyls roam freely as bands of cavemen wield makeshift clubs. It's one of those scenes that just make you stop and say “Wow.” Jordan Boyd's colors really pop off the page here too.
Neanderthals are a great replacement for the usual zombies we see appearing in mass hordes lately. We tend to think of them as lumbering idiots, but they're way bigger and stronger than we are, operating on baser instincts. To them, all that matters is survival which makes them so dangerous. Your average human would literally be ripped apart by a caveman. Much of this has to do with Wayshak's design of them. The devolved animals are just as if not more frightening. There are just so many teeth.
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As with most dystopian stories, the surviving humans can be more deadly than the monsters lurking out in the world. We encounter a camp of “sapiens” that seem just as bloodthirsty as the cavemen roaming outside the fences. Gil, their leader, is an intimidating terror of a man, sporting a swastika on the left side of his head and standing above everyone around him. It's like he was a Neanderthal to begin with, before the virus even hit.
At the center of all this chaos is Raja, a woman with a mission. She's tough and more than capable of taking care of herself. She does not back down from the likes of Gil and stands strong against him. I cannot wait to see what she does next.
Devolution hits the ground running with an amazing first issue. It hits on all marks with a great story, gorgeous artwork, and vibrant colors. This series was first announced more than three years ago and I assure you, it was worth the wait.