DMC, Devil May Cry: The Chronicles of Vergil #1 Review

dmc1 Comics based on video games tend to be pretty sketchy. From the unreadable Halo comics to the forgettable Assassin€™s Creed books, the transition from best-selling computer game to best-selling comic is a gulf no franchise has yet managed successfully. So its par for the course to see Capcom branch out its hit series Devil May Cry into comic book territory, and fail. If you€™re unfamiliar with the premise of the games, our hero is Dante, the son of a demon and an angel, who can see the real world for what it is - run by the Demon King Mundus who keeps humanity shackled into docility with his soft drink Virility and his news network Raptor News as he and his demon cohorts need humans to survive. Mundus killed Dante€™s mother Eva so Dante sets out to kill him. In this comic, subtitled The Chronicles of Vergil, the focus is on Dante€™s brother Vergil as he tries to break Dante out of Hellfire Prison. However he can€™t get into Hellfire without knowing its location so he enlists the help of human psychic Kat to become a prisoner of Mundus€™, get taken to Hellfire, and (as Kat herself points out) act like a GPS for Vergil so he can rift (teleport) in. It sounds straightforward but this comic makes very little sense. On page 1 we meet Dante as he€™s about to fight a giant monstrous spider with a demon head. Cut to page 2 where it€™s a year later and Dante is suddenly in Hellfire Prison being beaten by demons, his sword Rebellion is missing and he seemingly has no knowledge of who or what he is. Page 3 is the last we see of him and it€™s never explained how or why he got himself into Hellfire in the first place. It just jumps randomly and the reader is forced to simply accept the change. Cut to Limbo City where the humans are unknowingly being doped up with Virility soda - a terrible name for a drink that€™s supposed to appeal to everyone, men, women and children. Would you give your daughter Virility to drink? Anyway, even though this is the drink that the demons use to control humans, it€™s apparently in short supply - why? This is the control mechanism that the demons depend upon, why haven€™t they got oceans of the stuff stockpiled? Vergil appears, some fighting happens, and Kat, an unknowing psychic, is arrested because she spoke to Vergil thus apparently making her an accomplice. She wakes up in prison with Vergil cradling her creepily while wearing a disturbing mask - this is our hero by the way. So what follows is an enormous amount of exposition explaining the plot of the series. I know issue #1s tend to have more exposition than is healthy but this issue really goes beyond a reasonable amount to totally swamp the reader with information. I€™ll do my best to explain it but it€™s really confusing as concepts are thrown around as if the reader is completely au fait with them already and I really wasn€™t so bear with me: the human world and limbo - the demon€™s world - collide which cause dimensional rifts which are portals that allow travel between universes. Why and how they collide is never explained, they just do for whatever reason. Vergil is able to create rifts but he can€™t find those that already exist - but apparently Kat can, thus making her vital to him. For some reason. I don€™t know why he can€™t just create new rifts if he can€™t find old ones? Travel through these portals is allowed for demons but not for humans, and somehow when Kat is taken to Hellfire (the reason she€™s not killed outright is because the Demon King wants to rape her repeatedly) she€™ll somehow summon Vergil and he€™ll appear. There are a few more problems with this plan as I understand it - Kat only just found out she€™s a psychic but without any training it€™s assumed she€™ll be able to do all of these amazing things she€™s just found out she€™s capable of doing. Also Vergil admits he doesn€™t know what Dante looks like as they€™ve never met - yet he€™ll just know him when he sees him? And if you€™re wondering why Dante€™s so important, the writer, Izu (no surname, s/he€™s like Cher), throws in this gem of an explanation - €œwithout Dante, the human race is doomed!€. Real original. dmc2 The issue ends in a bizarre confrontation between the guards of Hellfire - called the Onyx, who all look like Twiki the robot - and Kat. Apparently, Kat€™s jailers tell her €œwe€™ll all be finished if you anger the Onyx€ and yet, without doing anything to anger them, the Onyx attack Kat and try to kill her! The writing and plotting of this issue is hack level at best. When a comic is full of exposition and yet there are still a sizeable amount of questions still unanswered, it€™s a badly written comic. The plotting makes no sense, especially if you€™ve never played the games, and the characterisations are contrived. Kat is the damsel in distress, Vergil is the hero, the demons are unrepentantly evil - it€™s so dull and lacking in any originality. Those character templates might work in the game where the focus is on the gameplay rather than the story but in a comic where it€™s all about the story, they feel really weak and poorly put-together. Easily the best part of the comic is Patrick Pion who draws a really attractive comic. His scenes in Limbo are excellent and some of the monstrous creations like the Phlegethon (a giant demonic fish) are memorable and scary. He also does action well, an essential quality for a comic based upon an action game and the fight scenes look great. But that€™s what made this series so popular - the games - and unfortunately the comics spinning off of them don€™t come close to being as interesting. To be fair, the games are popular because they€™re fun to play. The story is necessarily silly and overblown, a modern Gothic fantasy that looks great and gives you the chance to run around a fun and exciting environment. This comic proves that trying to make sense of that set-up and wringing a coherent and involving story out of it is nigh on impossible. DMC, Devil May Cry: The Chronicles of Vergil #1 by Izu and Patrick Pion is out this Wednesday at your local comics shop
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