The first volume of D4VE was amazing. I clearly wasn’t the only one to think that since the book was one of the first to ever be picked up in single issue format by IDW. Originally it was a digital only series from MonkeyBrain Comics, but after it’s IDW run it’s now a print series first type of deal. I remember when the first volume ended writer Ryan Ferrier questioned if there would be more D4VE and something about only if the story was right. With that, I became excited for D4VE’s return. Clearly the story was right to tell, right?
To say I was disappointed by this issue is an understatement. It took everything that worked for the first volume and forced it onto every page. Even D4VE’s lovable “Butthorn” catchphrase is used in the marketing of this book and so many times in the issue that its charm is lost. Here’s the thing, I don’t blame the creators. I saw what they could do on their own and it was fantastic. The humor was gentle, but hilarious. Sure it was non-stop, but it was the right kind of non-stop humor. This was non-stop in the worst kind of way. The way that makes you just want to stop reading.
So who’s to blame? Well again, I saw what the creators can do on their own without an editor so since the editor is the only thing new to the book I kind of have to blame the editor David Hedgecock. Now if you read the IDW version of the first volume you’ll have seen Hedgecock’s name on that book as well, but I really wonder if he did anything to it at all. If he did, then you did not read the best version of that story and should go buy the MonkeyBrain digital issues.
The overall story is of the same quality. An object falls from a black hole that’s opened up close to earth and everyone is thinking more aliens. D4VE is the boss now and his personal life is that of a divorced dad. The thing is, the charm of D4VE last time was that everything was interchangeable with a real person. Now, he feels like a robot or at the very least a cartoon character. He’s not genuine feeling and basically comes across as a parody of himself. 5cotty is just about the only thing that feels unchanged, but even he is a little too “on” this time around.
The art is still fantastic. The art is the only thing that informs us that this is the same series because if the art had switched we would never have known. I can’t praise Valentin Ramon’s artwork enough. His character designs continue to look great and continue the wonderful blend of robot, yet human looking. It’s a weird thing to describe, but basically even though their robots they emote the same as humans. Visually this books is still impressive.
I don’t know what the fuck happened to this series. This feels like a cheap cash in on the success of the first book and in terms of the story it barely resembles its past self. The jokes are nonstop and no longer feel fresh or funny, but the story is actually interesting and feels the same. It’s just the dialogue that reads like a carbon copy from the first book making me think that someone that wouldn’t have greenlite this book to begin with didn’t understand how to actually improve it and so it was recommend that they just keep it the same.
Maybe I’m blaming the editing too much, but since I find IDW’s editing to be mostly terrible and then one of the best books of last year lands there and releases a new volume that’s also now mostly terrible… well I find it hard not to believe that someone fucked with a working formula. And if it wasn’t the editor than Ryan Ferrier couldn’t tap into the same magic that made the first volume special and I honestly don’t know which is worse.