A black man is enslaved by the state because he has power that he himself can barely control. Another is institutionalized, afraid to release his ability. Meanwhile, Bloodshot, Aric of Dacia and Myshka are doing the most unspeakable of acts to preserve this reality. In order to save their old world it is left to Ninjak and Toyo Harada to wake the dreamer. In issue three of ‘Divinity III: Stalinverse’ things have gone worse than pear-shaped. In a last ditch and seemingly futile effort Ninjak is on a mad dash to plead with Abram Adams to use his power to shatter this world. However, is it too late?
This installment doesn’t leave you any time to breathe. Still throughout all the nonstop happenings and deliciously drawn violence, alongside the nonplused action of Ninjak, there is a much bigger, introspective theme unfolding. Three people went into outer space two came back to continue on with their lives. And as damaged as they were, no one bothered to remember the third. Matt Kindt has manipulated his readers to the point where you don’t know how or if the Valiant universe will revert back to its normal self. You keep waiting for someone to save the day, wake up and fix this. Abram seems to be the only man with the capabilities to turn back what is perceived to be a shared mind-meld. Everyone is experiencing this place as if it always existed. And those that know what’s actually going on are left impotent to stop it. As emotionally crippling as this storyline is, you don’t want it to end. Just what is Kindt doing? One possibility this narrative is undertaking is forcing the reader to look at their own choices in life. Just look what happens when you don’t pay attention. Essentially your existence becomes a heaping sack of fecal matter. But what happens when that inner child is festering a sense of abandonment. Through no fault of their own the power that Abram and Myshka obtained while they were in outer space were not gifts. They were both broken and traumatized. That feeling of PTSD, where you do anything you can to forget caused the third comrade to be discarded. And as a result this marginalized individual created a hell that none can escape from. In essence, the world is burning. Kindt is reminding us that in order to heal ourselves we must not forget the trauma or those surrounding it. For the four people who are aware that this world is a fabrication it may no longer matter.
Between Kindt’s writing and artwork by Trevor Hairsine et al, the only thing you’re sure of is by the end of the last panel you’ll be eagerly anticipating issue four; just like in 1980 when you might have spent the longest summer of your life wondering who shot Jr. Ewing on Dallas. Yes, it will grip you to the core. Kindt is reaching back to a time long before sequels and the belief that everything will predictably work out the way you expect it to. The hero, if there is one might not meet the challenge. Instead you won’t be able to guess what’s happening – and that’s what makes comic books still relevant. More importantly, it’s what makes this comic series so riveting.