Story: Ben Fisher
Art: Adam Markiewicz
Colors: Adam Guzowski
Letterer: Adam Markiewicz
What They Say:
In the near future, humanity awakens to the horrifying reality that the faintest touch from another’s skin results in agonizing death. The survivors isolate themselves, many driven mad by fragments of memories “absorbed” from those they’ve killed. Two years after the “Divide,” a pair of thieves stumble upon the means to save their species. But not everyone is eager to see the old world order restored…Includes a free song download — mood music for the apocalypse!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
End of the world stories are pretty regular for the past decade or so but have gone up a fair bit more recently for a range of reasons. Dynamite Entertainment has dabbled in a few and now this new six-issue series is getting underway from writer Ben Fisher and artist Adam Markiewicz, creators that I haven’t experienced works from before. The pair definitely connect well here as there are aspects of this that reminds me of the thrill I had with the first issue of The Walking Dead. You can see it as inspiration but at least it avoids zombies and other dark creatures walking the streets and focuses just on the problems of people and what they’d face in a situation like this. Markiewicz brings it to life really well in this book as there’s a kind of desolation about things, both in the landscapes and the characters, but I really like the overall visual presentation and the way he lays things out as it has a very smooth and engaging flow about it.
The premise is interesting enough in that without warning or reason, something that’s hinted at in a few areas at the end, mankind has now experienced a new kind of epidemic. People can no longer touch each other because when they do they end up killing the other person, often with aspects of that person being drawn into them so that they hear voices. We see that with a father whose family has now died and he can’t stop hearing their voices, which drives him further insane. Over the couple of years since this began, everything is in ruins and most people travel alone and completely covered. Trade happens in some areas and it’s kind of amusing because porn is one of the more valuable things to have since actual physical contact doesn’t exist anymore. We also see that some folks find ways of surviving by essentially being strip performers to provide some titillation as that’s all people can get anymore. The mindset of those in this kind of situation is certainly intriguing and the teases and narration explores it well enough here to set the stage.
The initial focus is on a man named Paul as we see how he’s surviving in all of this, from tricking others to get things to getting taken advantage of just ahead of a trading post and losing everything. He’s standard fare material overall as we don’t know a lot about him but with some medical skills from being a student prior to the end you can see how he can be useful. His time at the post brings him into the orbit of a woman named Maria that grabbed his stuff and sold it off, only to need him later to help a friend – an event that sends Paul down his own dark path at the end. But through the two of them prior to that we see how people are surviving and it’s definitely interesting, from the porn to the striptease material and what kinds of goods are being bandied about alongside some of the psychological stresses of it all.
The Great Divide starts of well and digs into its basic world setting ideas quickly with plenty of room to expand on it with as the book goes on. I’m definitely interested as Fisher presents an idea that’s familiar but all its own and explores some of the areas that are often overlooked in favor of just action and sex. Markiewicz has a solid style here that’s definitely appealing for this kind of book, touching on the horror side a bit but without overdoing it in a splatterfest kind of way. The pair make for a good team and this book has me already hopeful that there’s a good story for this six-issue run and that it’s something that can be explored more beyond that as it has the potential with what’s introduced so far – and if it can connect with enough readers, which it should. This does have the potential to be the next Walking Dead.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: September 7th, 2016