Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Devolution by Rick Remender

Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Dynamite

Title: Devolution (Volume 1)
Author: Rick Remender
Illustrations: Jonathon Wayshak
Publisher: Dynamite
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Graphic Novel, Adult, Dystopian

*I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Every living creature on Earth has been devolved - the evolutionary clock turned back, reverting all life to odd mutations and prehistoric incarnations. The cities of man are little more than bloody territories ruthlessly dominated by tribal Neanderthals ruling from the backs of mammoths, packs of saber-toothed tigers, and giant man-eating insects. Raja, one of the few remaining "Still Sapien" humans, heads to San Francisco to find the antidote for the world-changing DVO-8 viral agent. But to cross the wasteland, she'll have to convince the last pocket of humanity to join her quest... and survive the Nazi hillbillies that rule them through fear! Rick Remender, the acclaimed writer of Black Science, Low, and Deadly Class, unleashes a high-octane dystopian masterpiece on the world, featuring the brilliant artistry of Jonathan Wayshak!


I love the premise of this book. I think we've all read our share of post-apocalyptic, dystopian stories. It's personally one of my favorite genres. Devolution is especially unique in that people not only resorted to violence and immoral activities, they also regressed backwards from an evolutionary standpoint; thus the name, Devolution. Part of the population decided it was religion that was the root of all evil, so they developed a virus to wipe out the part of the brain that deals with faith. It did it's job and then some, mutating absolutely everything on the planet, save for a handful of humans that remained untouched. Enter Raja, a human woman who feels like she has a personal responsibility to find a cure for the DVO-8 virus. 

There's no denying that Raja was a badass, although that becomes more apparent towards the end of volume 1. She definitely knew how to take care of herself and spoke up for what she thought was right. The problem I had was that by the end I just didn't feel much for Raja, or any of the other characters really. I think it might have helped if the parts of the dialogue that told the reader what was going on with Raja were in first person rather than third. It would have more impact if it came from her thoughts or mouth, rather than some nameless, faceless narrator telling us what she had been through and what she was feeling. The third person approach kind of separates you from the character and it just isn't as powerful, in my opinion. I did, however, like how the author made a guy who was basically still human the main villain. One would assume in a world full of neanderthals and mutants that the humans would be the least of your worries, but no, it's the humans that pose the biggest threat. I guess I (and everyone else who watches The Walking Dead) already knew that to be true, yet it's still a jarring thought. 

Source: www.gq.com

The illustrations were well done, and really captured the desolate, dreary hopelessness of this infected world. The drab colors and amount of detail used in the environment really set the tone that this was not a friendly planet anymore. Once I got past the interesting backstory regarding the virus, I found myself paying much more attention to the artwork than the story. That's not a bad thing exactly, but I wish the plot would have held my attention a little better. It all comes back to the characters and the fact that I didn't really connect with them.

Overall I thought the plot was intriguing; it just wasn't enough to make me love it. There's a part of me, however, that is still very interested in seeing how it all plays out. The end held a few big revelations that make me at least a little curious, so I think I would consider buying the next volume when it comes out. 

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