If you are looking for an example of how post-apocalyptic fiction should be done, look no further than Dynamite’s Devolution.
We enter the world of Devolution in the heart of what was once the shining example of technology and glittering excess — Las Vegas. The city, and indeed the whole world, has been laid low by a bizarre virus which has changed everything. The world we know is gone and replaced by a darkly twisted version of Land of the Lost. Cromagnons roam a cityscape overgrown with giant trees and twisted vines. Dinosaurs attack from the shadows while mosquitos large enough to pierce through a human’s torso and spiders which can take out an attack helicopter threaten us from all sides.
The reader follows Raja, a woman desperate to undo the sins of her father, quite literally. He was one of the scientists responsible for releasing DVO-8, the chemical which devolved the majority of life on the planet. He is also responsible for a cure which will undo the harm, re-evolving people back into people. To achieve her goal and save the planet, Raja must cross a landscape where the most threatening antagonists might not be the creatures in the wild, but the other un-infected humans who have set up their territories throughout the area. Gil and his band of neo-Nazi survivors are frightening and frighteningly funny at the same time. While totally over the top, it is easy to see how certain sectors of society could devolve into exactly this type of group.
Devolution borrows the “we have met the enemy and he is us” idea popular in much of the post-apocalyptic genre, but with a tinge of social commentary. There are a few times where it is noted that the decline of society started not with DVO-8, but before it. Writer Rick Remender insures that these provide an additional layer to the plot and avoids being too heavy handed. The story is fast paced and action packed. Jonathon Wayshack’s artwork and Jordan Boyd’s colors bring the world to life admirably. When the characters are trapped, the panels seem almost claustrophobic due to the amount of detail. Other panels are spacious, allowing to reader to truly appreciate the world being traversed.
Some of the themes, language, and images make this a definite “not for the schoolyard” read. The nudity and violence do not seem gratuitous, however and the language is appropriate for the various characters.
Dinosaurs, cavemen, giant bugs, and even a space station — Devolution is a definite must read.