Now I don't know what to think of this series. Issue one of Deluge challenged the reader with visions of chaos in the flooded streets of an immediately post-Katrina New Orleans. The issue focused on the human cost of decaying systems. It looked at obligation and trust as it pertained to authority and safety. Issue two reveals a far shallower narrative than I'd hoped to find. What once felt like fast-paced, economic plotting comes across as aimlessness here. Scenes end with little purpose. Plot points arise to be pushed aside. Chunks of dialogue appear long enough to raise questions, only to be dismissed by the characters delivering said dialogue. Seriously; it often feels like Oliva gets bored with a line of thought and cures his restlessness by leaping to another character for very little narrative purpose. Nothing is allowed to sit, to simmer.
Issue two is all movement, but none of it is forward movement. Making things worse, the art is just a clutter of similar blue and gray environments populated by nearly identical characters. As a series of illustrations, the art gets its job done. As sequential art it lacks variety and suffers greatly for that lack.
Deluge has a very simple plot. And, while simplicity can allow for better character work, Deluge squanders its chance to make me care about any of the people floating across its pages. There's an illusion of complexity facilitated by numerous characters, gray morality, and that annoyingly quick pace. But the writing won't allow for any true exploration of emotional depth. The one attempt to humanize an antagonist here falls flat because I really can't tell you much about the guy. His flashback takes up two pages and adds nothing to the plot. It feels like there are so many moving parts that writer J.D. Oliva decides to simplify things. In a few cases, that means killing off characters and dropping plot lines. Sadly, the violence feels cynical and meaningless instead of shocking or… whatever. Issue two has an ending that seems designed to feed that cynicism and, as a result, you're left feeling empty.
Deluge #1 was an intriguing introduction. Deluge #2 just feels like a joyless march toward a pointless end.
Deluge #2 Writer: J.D. Oliva Artist: Richard P. Clark Publisher: Infinity Comics Price: $0.99 Release Date: 2/3/16 Format: Mini-series; Digital