Indie publisher Markosia are attempting to enter the world of espionage with Darren Pearce and Stuart Jennett’s Elena: Divinity Rising #1 – a fusion of spy thriller, with a touch of superpowers and a strong female lead. Can this new offering be a success in this tough genre or is that mission impossible?
Writer: Darren Pearce
Artist: Stuart Jennett
Price: £0.69 from ComiXology
The CIA are tracking a threat called The Yuri when they receive information of an attack to take place in New York. With possible information to be gained, the director despatches his ‘Brat Pack’ of Alex and the titular Elena, two superpowered teens rescued from the clutches of Yuri, to investigate and apprehend him. However, while attempting to save the day, they discover that their enemy isn’t The Yuri and that this attack might not be an attack at all, but an ambush.
Elena: Divinity Rising #1 is a solid and enjoyable first issue with Pearce and Jennett producing a story which flows nicely and feels realistic while nicely meshing with the more fantastical elements. (The plot even allows for a few big ‘what’s going to happen next’ moments!) The addition of the superpowers feels a little out of left field for the premise but they are used well within the story, allowing the idea to fit nicely within the overall premise of the book. What it lacks though is a more pertinent backstory, such as how Elena came to work for the CIA as well as what her power set is, which seemed to be missing from this issue and hampered some of our enjoyment. (Also, some of the spelling and grammar within the lettering was off on occasion, which is a real bugbear of ours!).
The CG art is an original almost graffiti-esque style which seems to suit the book nicely. The main characters are very well rendered and the colours feel almost retro against the earthy colours used for the background scenery and characters which gives them a tone similar to the Nightly News. However, the far background of most panels did feel a bit rushed in their depictions, with not as much attention as the foreground received. But that is not something which overall affects the enjoyment of the book.
Overall, Elena: Divinty Rising #1 is an interesting book which reveals just as many secrets as you’d expect an espionage thriller to allow, but there’s still enough left undiscovered to keep you invested. If you are looking to move away from superheroes into something new, Elena: Divinity Rising #1 is certainly a good choice to begin that transition and fans of the spy genre should be well suited by this bold hew heroine.