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'The Deviant' #3 is very precise as we learn new truths
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Comic Books

‘The Deviant’ #3 is very precise as we learn new truths

‘The Deviant’ #3 reveals a key scene set in the past.

At the center of The Deviant is a Christmas murder that took place in 1973, and now a similar-looking killer is back fifty years later. How could the killer be back when the culprit is still in jail? It’s just one question in a story that blends themes about being gay at different times in our history and a main character who seems lost and trying to find meaning. In the third issue, James Tynion IV and Joshua Hixson come closer to the truth as they plumb the depths of horror not too far from the suburban lifestyle.

The Deviant #3 opens in Milwaukee in 2023. We see Derek – the boyfriend of our main character, Michael – putting out Christmas decorations with his coworker in a hospital. Derek is the super positive type but relates an idea of men getting older and the inability to hide their loneliness. It’s something Michael has exhibited and an interesting sociological problem Tynion introduces. We don’t see Michael, but we get more insight into him.

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Much of the rest of the issue centers on the cop Michael interviewed in the last issue, who sees on the news a similar killer who hacked at his face is back. The creative team quickly zips back in a flashback that reveals what Michael did after waking up. It’s an intense scene, with homophobia driving the cop’s actions. He sees something and reacts without asking questions. It’s as if the horror isn’t the act of violence, but the lack of empathy or care to understand the situation due to bigotry.

'The Deviant' #3 review

Makes you think.
Credit: Image

Hixson gets to show us a bit more of the slashing Michael took, with some horrific blood-spraying panels. The horror of this slasher Santa is quite evident, particularly in how Hixson draws and colors the eyes through the mask. The expressions in a scene with the cop, who he thinks is the culprit, are masterful. The tension is evident, as Michael is thin on rest and patience. Meanwhile, Randall’s only crime is being gay, and thus, the cop’s only reason for arriving there. The scene is intense and painful to read.

As far as the mystery or any answers go, I continue to wait. We always knew Randall wasn’t the killer, but this issue helps prove he wasn’t simply by showing the cop’s actions. That said, the Santa killer continues to be at large and largely underdeveloped. He’s a phantom, and while that may be the purpose, the story seems to be going in a direction that’ll reveal who or what it is. The single-issue format is partly to blame, as this story will likely read even better in one sitting. That said, a bit more with Michael or the Santa killer could have helped make this issue feel less siloed.

The Deviant #3 continues to prove it’s one of the best comics today that feels purposeful in every word and panel conveyed. This story reads like a puzzle; every piece is perfectly chosen before revealing the larger picture.

'The Deviant' #3 is very precise as we learn new truths
‘The Deviant’ #3 is very precise as we learn new truths
The Deviant #3
The Deviant #3 continues to prove it's one of the best comics today that feels purposeful in every word and panel conveyed. This story reads like a puzzle; every piece is perfectly chosen before revealing the larger picture. 
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.6
Interesting idea about men in their 40s
Reveals just how far bigotry can go when fueled by hate and fear
Still doesn't progress the mystery very much
9
Great
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