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Divinity III: escape from Gulag 396

by Jason Laframboise on March 17, 2017

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Published by Valiant Comics

Well the Stalinverse story rolls on with this final one shot. We get two stories, the main and a short back up. I'll touch on the back up quickly. The Origin of the Pioneer. Honestly the story was fine, but didn't feel needed. It came across as page filler. The character isn't memorable and really it's fine that the creators want to add to this universe, but personally I would have rather seen what some of the other Valiant mainstays are up too. Where's Dr. Mirage and Punk Mambo in all this? Quantum and Woody? Or better yet the Darque family would have been much more interesting characters. Speaking of Valiant mainstays the main story focussed on two of the biggies, Archer and Armstrong. The main story was really well done. This was the perfect example of how to do alternate reality stories. We get the two hard travelling heroes in their Stalinverse lives as prisoners in the Gulag, and they end up coming together in a touching well written way that really captures the character of Archer completely. Archer was the star of this issue.

The art was good. I liked the subtle differences between the real world Archer and his Stalinverse counterpart such as hair style and dress. The final panel of the main story is really great, not going to spoil it but it's a gorgeous panel. There is a page or so going over Armstrong's time through the ages that is also quite well done. Good job by Francis Portella this month. The backup's art was great of course, with one of my favourite artists in comics today, the brilliant Juan Jose Ryp. This was the type of warrior character that Ryp excels at drawing, so no complaints here for the backup story's art.

I went over the writing in the issue above, but I wanted to mention that I'm unfamiliar with Eliot Rahal the writer of this issue, so it's probably his first Valiant work. Either way I enjoyed his take on the story, and I hope we get more from him in the future. The back up feature was written by Matt Kindt and again was well written. My criticism isn't with the story it's self but with the lack of context of the character. I honestly don't remember the Pioneer from the Divinity III proper series, so to me she wasn't a character who needed their backstory expanded. Maybe Kindt has huge plans for her, I don't know.

 It's weird that this doppelgänger story might be one of the better portrayals I've read of Archer thus far in the current Valiant universe. The story was simple and very enjoyable. It was just a well told alternate reality tale that strikes the right cord with this reader. A fun read, and added more to the Divinity storyline.


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