The Discipline Vol. 1: The Seduction
Peter Milligan, writer; Leandro Fernández, artist; Cris Peter, colorist; Simon Bowland, letterer
Image Comics, 2016

Here's a twisted tale. In his Introduction Milligan acknowledges that the first thing readers notice is the sex. There is a lot--along with plenty of bloody violence--but it is far from being the main point. Sex (and sadomasochism) are just means to release occult energies. The real action is the ancient war between The Discipline and The Stalkers. After being seduced by a mysterious stranger, bored Manhattan housewife Melissa Peake finds herself drawn into the battle.

The farther she gets into it, the stranger it becomes. Both sides include bestial transformations, which don't appear human at all. And both claim to be "the good guys." The Discipline is run by the Ancient Council, and the "ancient" part is literal: Melissa first travels to ancient Rome to meet them. She turns out to be a pawn to both sides, because of a talent she possesses that is never really defined.

The story delves into the ancient world briefly, casting a new light on the relationship between Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Melissa's final acceptance of her role involves a confrontation with one those famous historical personages. Fernández's vibrant, kinetic artwork sells most of this. His character designs are distinctive, with a range of realistic body types, both male and female. His dynamic action sequences suffer only from occasional visual confusion (hard to avoid when there are unique creatures involved). Plenty of room for a "further adventures" sequel, although there is no indication that one is planned.

 

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