Last month we recommended issue #1 of The Discipline for anyone who wants a bit of excitement in their comics. The series is clearly sexually charged and introducing some themes you just can’t get in TV or movies due to the nature of the content. How about issue #2? Is it good?
The Discipline #2 (Image Comics)
The main character is named Melissa who has a boring, sexless marriage and needs a spark in her life. Last issue a mysterious man named Orlando who is part of Discipline seduced her and ultimately left her naked in a dicey situation. This month she learns more about this strange hidden world and realizes that her affair with Orlando isn’t just about sex. As she learns more about them she also learns about the Discipline’s enemy the Stalkers, and comes to realize she’s changing too.
Why does this book matter?
Leandro Fernandez has an expressive style that takes risks with layouts and page composition which is extremely exciting. Much like his art the writing by Peter Milligan is proving to be enticing in part due to the sexually charged nature of the story, but also the science fiction elements too.
Note the people looking at the paintings. Very eclectic!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is all about Melissa losing it as her life appears to be falling apart. We meet her husband (she attacks the poor bastard), her sister (attacks her too), and eventually we see her take another step toward the Discipline. Milligan is telling this story very briskly which keeps Melissa and the reader on their toes. As she flips out and loses it we learn just enough about Discipline and get a sense that nothing is what it seems. The Stalkers too get some characterization and it’s fun to see reveals and gain a better understanding of the bigger picture. This feels like a mystery of sorts and as Melissa falls deeper into this complicated world you’ll find yourself wanting to learn more.
Artist Leandro Fernandez continues to do fantastic work, especially with the things around the focus. Take for instance a scene with Melissa and Orlando in a museum. As they peer at a sartyr attacking a woman the people around them are eclectic and interesting to look at. Later in a sex dungeon the characters are all naked, passionate and totally fixated on what they’re doing. The scene is composed well with things going on in the background and foreground and the color by Cris Peter works well to convey a sickly nature. A lot of greens and muted colors are used throughout which gives the entire work a cold feeling. Later in the book when Melissa finds herself in a precarious position in public Fernandez uses a low Dutch angle shot that at once creates a sense of unease, but also power. Melissa is weak, but at once not so due to her sexuality.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There is one scene lasting a single page that seemed out of nowhere. It’s between Melissa and her sister and it’s the beginning of her unravelling. The fact is we haven’t seen her like this once and it takes you off guard. You’ll be wondering why she’s acting so outrageous and while you learn why later the tone shifts so dramatically it takes you out of the story.
Not to give anything away, but as Melissa grows more erratic she visually changes too, but I’m not sure it’s done well enough to really notice. It’s a subtle thing with her eyes, but more than once I simply thought the art looked unfinished! One could argue they left this rather vague as to not spoil a reveal later. It’s a minor issue, but it struck me as a lacking element in this issue.
Is It Good?
If you thought you wanted to learn more last issue you’ll be dying by the end here. Milligan and Fernandez are cooking up one hell of a sexually charged mystery building on something many people can relate to—feeling sexually starved—and using it to reveal a mysterious world involving sex, violence, and manipulation.
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