I wanna say profound things about Divinity because it’s a pretty profound book. Set up as a mystery about how a cosmonaut left Earth and returned with god-like powers, it’s a compelling read that is emotionally evocative even though its main character is a detached super-being. Featuring the protagonist for less than half the issue, the creators of Divinity handedly maintain the contemplative tone of the premiere issue while moving the book’s plot along, introducing a few more characters, and firmly planting Divinity within the wider Valiant universe. This second issue of Divinity starts out with Divinity, the codename of Adam Abrams’ mission, observing an intimate moment in his life prior to his mission, a moment both he and the reader recognize as symbolizing what Adam Abrams gave up in order to execute his outer space mission. It provides a great set-up for the rest of the issue, which focuses on the people whose deepest desires Divinity has been fulfilling since his return to Earth. Looking at what he is able to accomplish seemingly effortlessly then, it adds a new layer of mystery to consider why Abrams cannot similarly alter his own life.
Often when a book has a reality-warping super being one of the biggest bummers to me is whenever it seems as though those powers are not put to interesting use. Instead, we get some version of ‘they have the power to do anything’ iterated by some authoritative figure without much evidence to the fact. Matt Kindt and the art team of penciller Trevor Hairsine, inker Ryan Winn, and colorist David Baron make sure that a reader closes this issue confident that Divinity is a force of awesome power. I loved being treated to the feats Divinity accomplishes, most impressively the sphere of lush green forest Divinity has created in the Australian outback. As the first panel set in the present again, it sets up a great sense of scale for what Divinity can accomplish due to both its size, and its contrasts with the surrounding desert over which the sphere floats.
I also loved that this issue revisits the SEAL team from the previous issue, and how transformative their encounter with Divinity has been. This issue reframes what seemed like horrific changes into ones that exemplify the generosity and understanding of Divinity. Like some of the militant characters in the book, the previous issue’s end made me think of Divinity as an omnipotent being more likely to use his power to nefarious purposes rather than benevolent deeds. This issue complicates such a reading, and by the end I reluctantly believed that Divinity hoped to solely be a force of transformative good who would potentially only destroy if violently provoked in the way he was at the end of the issue.
In addition to the art, Matt Kindt uses narration throughout this issue to further emphasize the effects Divinity has been having on others as well as showing us some of Abrams’ experience on his mission. The brief glimpse of Abrams’ mission does a fantastic job of further teasing the transformation Abrams underwent; especially how it seems possible that Abrams’ generated his own transformation. Once we find out who’s been narrating the issue, and to what end, the entire issue’s events are given a new perspective, giving the use of narration a purpose beyond a simple way to gauge the book’s emotional tenor.
While the first issue of Divinity was a fine setup to a new comic property from Valiant, the follow-up shows the diverse range of tones the publisher can achieve. I’m looking forward to finding out what Divinity’s ultimate goal turns out to be, but even if all we get is more of the incredible art by this team, I’ll be with it til its end.