Writer: Paul J. Salamoff
Artist: Giuseppe D’Elia
Markosia Enterprises, out now
Chromatic (aka Warren Kimball), a member of the world-saving superhero team War Hammer, is brutally dismembered alongside his three teammates and their arch-enemy in a disastrous crash on an alien planet. But when the planet’s indigenous life forms find the remains of the ship and its unfortunate occupants, they use their advanced technology together with medical information from War Hammer’s shipboard computer to piece together one of the human crew using what parts they can find.
Paul J. Salamoff’s Discord takes classic superhero comics, pulls them apart and stitches them back together to create something refreshingly original. Clearly a veteran of the comics medium, Salamoff weaves genre clichés and superhero tropes together and then subverts them to tell a tale of lost identity.
Discord expertly blends the very clichéd and derivative (deliberately so) superhero story on the one hand with the far deeper, darker and almost existential story of Warren Kimball. The parallels to classic superhero teams like the X-Men are obvious but Salamoff explores what would happen if something truly terrible were to happen to such a team, something that couldn’t be repaired. In the midst of people in skin-tight, one-piece lycra suits slinging cheesy one-liners at the enemy, stands Warren, a monster who used to be a hero. Discord puts Warren in a situation far harsher than any X-Man has ever faced. The contrast between the two paradigms creates a tension in the story that is immediately engrossing.
Salamoff deftly handles the many shades of despair, rage and self-hatred that accompany Warren’s transformation and return to Earth. What could have been rendered as heavy-handed and predictable instead shows a nuanced, subtle touch.
I found Warren’s reunion with Moire (War Hammer’s leader and Warren’s lover) particularly poignant. Torn between her response to the new Warren as a leader and her response as a lover she cycles through relief, revulsion, curiosity and grief.
Giuseppe D’Elia’s art is stark, emotive and expertly expresses both the superhero action and also the graphic novel’s deeper themes. His depiction of the transformed Warren is particularly skilled as he walks the line between showing the character as a tortured monster and a sympathetic hero. D’Elia uses a range of panel layouts to reflect the energy and intensity of the story. Particularly in the latter half of the graphic novel the panel layout goes a long way towards communicating the chaos of battle.
Verdict: Discord is a great read, particularly if you are a fan of traditional superhero teams. Salamoff takes genre clichés and asks, ‘What if?’ with fascinating results. 8/10
Check out The Discord Graphic NovelTeaser Traileron Youtube:
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