Tim from Last Week Reviews: The Discipline #1!

Writer: Peter MilliganTheDiscipline_01-1
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: 3/2/2015

Peter Milligan has been working in comics since the early 1980s, starting on 2000 AD, a popular British anthology comic. In the late ’80s, Milligan was among the last members of the early “British Invasion” in American comics, working heavily in DC Comics’ Vertigo line (Shade, The Changing Man; Animal Man; and Enigma). Some of his later work at DC included Batman, Hellblazer, and Justice League Dark. Milligan has also done work at Marvel Comics (X-Statix, X-Men, and Moon Knight).

Leandro Fernandez started working in American comics in the late 1990s, working at Marvel Comics (X-Factor, Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Punisher), Oni Press (Queen & Country), as well as work for DC Comics’ Vertigo and Wildstorm imprints.

We are introduced to Melissa just as she realizes that the demon sex she’s enjoying is changing her into something else, and she isn’t sure she’s happy about it. But, wait, that’s the future. It turns out that, just a little while back, Melissa was a mildly unhappy wife, sister, and daughter. Her ill mother lives with Melissa’s sister, Krystal, but Krystal is not the best for dear, old Mom. We also find out that Melissa’s marriage isn’t great, she rarely sees her husband, and her main confidante is her dog, Hemingway.

Enter Orlando. Orlando is mysterious. Orlando is hot. Orlando is strange. Orlando is European. So, she decides to bed him and finally enjoy herself, for a change. But, Orlando plays hard-to-get (as far as Melissa can tell), which, of course, makes her want him more. One phone call later, she meets him in an unexpected place to seal the deal. Unfortunately, Orlando has brought all kinds of other-worldly baggage with him, and soon Melissa is naked and targeted by some of that baggage! Orlando defends her, but is he really helping her? Or does he have deeper plans for Melissa?

I have to admit: this is a strange book. There is nudity and sex, but it’s not graphic (though, graphically suggestive?). I am pretty sure there is a deeper story, but, so far: there are possibly 2 factions of demon-y type groups, possibly some reference to Ancient Rome or Greece, and demon sex. Milligan describes this as possibly “…the edgiest story…” he’s written. Which is saying something, considering some of his work for Vertigo. That being said, demon sex is generally considered edgy. However, I’m not getting edgy when I read this issue. I’m curious where the story is going, so, hopefully, we can get more edge as we go along.

I have not been a huge fan of Leandro Fernandez in the past, as he often succeeded another artist that I enjoyed with his completely different style. Even with that, I find this work to be interesting. I am still not sure that his art is “right” for this comic, but I did not find it to be jarring or painful, and I could follow his story-telling. Some of the panels are beautifully constructed, using negative space and what ends up being almost spot-coloring (colorist: Cris Peter). If you are not sure you know what spot-coloring is, think of black-and-white art with just a single “pop” of color thrown in (see the movie Sin City as a good example outside of comics). I am still not sure I like Fernandez’ art, or that he is right for this book, but I will have to see what follows to decide yea or nay.

I am not sure I am hooked yet, but, these days, most comic book stories (or story arcs) are 6 issues long, so it may take 2-3 issues to find that hook. While I am not excited about Fernandez’ art, I am pretty sure Milligan will provide a real story to follow. The Discipline is published monthly, and is priced $2.99 per issue.

The Discipline, and other great comics, can be found at Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex located at 4456 Main Street in Manayunk, PA! Visit him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jdsherocomplex/

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