What happens when the world’s greatest superheroes die? AAM/Markosia and Paul J. Salamoff have come together to release an original graphic novel called Discord. Discord is the story of of a team of the world’s greatest superheroes, their death, apparent resurrection, aliens, and a whole lot of drama.
Writer: Paul J. Salamoff
Artist: Giuseppe D’Elia
Publisher: Markosia Enterprises Ltd
The opening scenes of Discord were an easy ode to any classic superhero team. Five members with varying powers fight off a villain that requires teamwork and good old fashioned butt-kicking. Soon after, though, Discord quickly spirals into the superhero/sci-fi drama that Salamoff intended.
Discord is a story that really encompasses a lot of genres and ideas, but rolls it all up into one great sci-fi read. The story begins with some great super-team action. Readers are introduced to what seems like the perfect mix of characters for a team, which you can quickly grow fond of. Suddenly, this turns into the story of the one surviving member who is an amalgamation of the body parts of his dead teammates! It may sound a bit strange, but Salamoff does a great job of having it all make sense. When this remaining hero, Warren, returns to Earth, he doesn’t exactly get the reception he expected. Many of his friends resent him for what happened, but don’t truly know that Warren is the one who hurts the most. The end has a great little twist, but I don’t want to spoil any more. The story soon turns into a drama exploring the themes of love, friends, and family, as well as how self-loathing and despair can tear this all apart.
The art in Discord, done by Italian artist Giuseppe D’Elia, has the flavor of a 90s Lee X-men mixed with Gimenez’s Metabarons landscape. It was a bit unexpected at first, but it easily grows on you. D’Elia did a great job of displaying the grotesqueness of Warren’s “condition,” which was an integral part of the storytelling. The sadness, humility, and disgust (which was a recurring theme) was portrayed really well. The emotion from the characters’ facial expressions really came out of the pages and added to the whole experience. One thing that must be mentioned is that D’Elia can really draw a hero in a full costume get-up. It was especially enjoyable to see when the team was in action. Each team member’s powers were displayed well, and although they had the wardrobe of a team, each individual and their powers were easy to spot.
Salamoff’s writing was a refreshing and interesting take on the superhero genre. It was easy to tell he has plenty of experience in the comics industry, and really knows what to give the reader to keep them hooked. There was no wasted time when it came to getting to the point with this story. Salamoff wanted to tell a not-so-typical superhero tale, and that is exactly what he did. He really pushed the identities of the characters and it was easy to like them. The inner turmoil of the main character, Warren, was a great hook. You would think that being brought back to life would make someone happy, but the way it was done in Warren’s case made you actually wish he had stayed dead. Warren’s issues are reminiscent of the “Brundlefly” dilemma with its own superhero twist. It was kind of funny to see that even though Salamoff had little restrictions as far as censoring went, he didn’t abuse that privilege. The nudity was kept to a minimum, and the gore was used in just the right places. The only real problem with Discord was the fact readers didn’t get to see more of the characters that made up Warren’s new body. The few times we did get to see them, they seemed like a well thought out group, with varied personalities and powers.
For Salamoff and D’Elia, this was a good foray into a more superhero-type genre. Both are accomplished creators, who have flown relatively under the radar, but both have shown that they know what it takes to create a good story. D’Elia’s art takes a minute to get used to, but not in a bad way. It’s only because of his 90s influence that you have to shift gears for a moment and remember the good ol’ days. His characters are well drawn, and a lot of detail is put into the environments. Salamoff’s writing came out polished and well planned. He knew exactly what story he wanted to tell, and did it well. Again, the only problem with Discord is that you don’t get to see more of the team, which seem like they can hold a story on their own. As a whole, Discord is a great read and worth checking out. From start to finish, Salamoff put a ton of effort into his plans for the story, and it really comes full circle. It is not a typical superhero story, though. If you can enjoy a little gore, and a story that really delves into the psyche of humans, superhumans in particular, then you should definitely read this.
Discord comes out this August and is available from Diamond Previews (Diamond pg. 216 #JUN11 0782)
Check out a one minute trailer for Discord here.