Divine Right Preview (1997)

Divine Right Preview (July, 1997)
“First Drafts”
Story/Pencils/Editor in Chief – Jim Lee
Inks – Scott Williams
Colors – Joe Chiodo w/Martin Jimenez
Computer Color – WildStorm FX
Letters – Amie Grenier
Design – Emilio Medina
Editor – Rachelle Brissenden
Executive Editor – Mike Heisler
Special Thanks – Trevor Scott, Sal Regla & Rich Friend

Weird one today.  Remember a couple weeks back when we discussed Divine Right #1?  I kinda complained about just being dropped into the story… and had a sneaking suspicion that we had “missed something”.

Well, we sorta did!  It wasn’t a Divine Right #0 like I alluded to in the piece, but… the Divine Right Preview!  There’s also a Wizard #1/2… but that one might not have anything to do with “backstory” and I still need to track it down.

So… before we go into the synopsis, I want to thank Jim Lee personally for reaching out and… okok, that didn’t happen.  I’d actually like to thank my city for having some of the best 50-cent bins this side’a the Mississip’.

We open with Christine Blaze infiltrating a secret base in Jerusalem.  Worth mentioning, this woman has the most interesting/infuriating hair.  It seems to go from long to short (and back again) each panel.  I didn’t mention that last time, but it was a “problem” there too.  One panel she has a giant bun, the next… none!  Maybe it’s all part of her secret agent (if that’s what she even is…) training?  Yeah, we’ll go with that.  Anyhoo, she reaches a command room called the Succubus Unit.  It is where the Creation Equation is being kept… apparently, in binary.

She kills all of the guards, then pops her thumbdrive CD-ROM into the computer tower (sure hope it’s RealPlayer is up to date!).  She copies the Creation Equation… and deletes it off the server sends it to the Recycle Bin.

We shift scenes to our generic WildStorm baddies, Mr. Talk-to-the-Hand, and Cardinal Whatshisface.  They’re displeased with losing the Equation… the latter even performing the ol’ Darth Vader “force choke” on a nearby yes-man.

And so, they summon the “Rath”… which is the thing that would eventually emit a blue light and destroy the internet cafe Christine visited in the first issue… and boy howdy, is it’s design a bit of a mess… it’s like someone took a Predator action figure, a Stryfe action figure and a Warwolves action figure (are those even a thing?) and threw ’em in the microwave for a minute!

We next shift to Avignon in Southern France.  A Papal Court called the Ministers of Mercy call forth a trio of generic WildStorm heroes referred to as The Fallen.  They are Brande, Tobruk, and (sigh) Exotica… and the energy needed to summon them was enough to kill the summoner.

We wrap up with an epilogue.  An epilogue for an eight-page story?  Okay.  Anyhoo, this is where we meet our hero, Max Faraday.  It’s midnight and he is woken up by his sister Jenn so he can get to work on time.  Does dude really deliver pizza at midnight?  Well I guess we’ll never know, cuz that’s it!

Huh.  Well… that cleared it all up, di’nt it?

Let’s start by talking about the cover.  Now, I’m not one to judge… but, we get that classic, “Mrs. Robinson you’re trying to seduce me…” pose… which is always a fun visual.  Thing is, the only woman we saw with Max here was… his sister!  That conjures up some odd imagery, doesn’t it?  Never mind the fact that he’s also looking at porn while his sister (maybe) attempts to seduce him.  Maybe they should’ve called this book Depraved Right!

Okay, enough about that…

Let’s talk about some of the characters we’re introduced to.  Last year, Reggie and I discussed WildC.A.T.S: Covert Action Teams #1 on the Cosmic Treadmill…

… and toward the end, we talked about how Jim Lee characters had this “stock” quality to them.  They all feel so dispassionate… I said something along the lines of “You have the generic-looking leader, you have the hulking brute, you have the badass, you have the magic girl, and you have the ‘one with claws’.”  They just don’t feel like characters that Lee was dying to write about… just characters he knew would “work”.

I feel the same way here… we don’t know enough about them to say whether or not they’re just 90’s comics archetypes, but I’d bet dollars to dingbats that they are.  I mean, look at The Fallen.  I mean, if I were to show you that panel… you’d never be able to place ’em… they’re just so generic, and could have been heroes (or villains) in any Jim Lee work from Uncanny X-Men on ’til today!

The bad guys… also stock.  Shadowy pseudo-religious organization led by a powerful man with a stubbly, chiseled face and long white hair.  Let’s not even get started with The Rath.  Aye yai yai.

Now even with all that said (plus the irritating inconsistencies on the Christine Blaze model), I can’t say that I’m all that mad at this issue.  It’s kinda dumb, it’s kinda generic/cliche… but, it’s not all that bad.  I don’t think I’d encourage anyone to break their backs or banks finding it… but, I wouldn’t advice avoiding it either.  Decent enough mid-late 90’s fun.


Interesting Only Ads:

So… let’s advertise Divine Right #1… by using the cover to Divine Right #2!

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