The newest Devil May Cry had a bit of controversy surrounding it due to the shift to a much younger and more angsty version of Dante, the main character of the series. In the end, the game came out pretty solid, and people quickly got over any reservations they had. Today we are taking a quick look at DmC: Devil May Cry: The Chronicles of Vergil – the first of the hardback graphic novels from Titan Comics. As the title of the book suggests, the focus is on Virgil, Dante’s twin brother.
As leader of The Order, Vergil is the spawn of Sparda and Eva – an angel and a demon. Teaming up with his brother, they seek to depose Mundus – the Demon King that sits as lord over all demon and humans alike. How you might ask? With his soda named “Virility” and his CCTV network and Raptor News – the media combo that keep humans docile and subjugated. If that sounds completely ridiculous, I’ll remind you that this is Capcom – this level of crazy actually follows the story pretty closely.
The plot of The Chronicles of Virgil focuses on Dante and his efforts to spring his brother Dante from Hellfire Prison. GIven that Mundus doesn’t exactly advertise the location of his favorite torture hotspot, that’s a tall order for Virgil alone, so he concocts a crazy plan to get himself locked up there with a little help from a human psychic named Kat. Sound simple enough? It’s not.
Penned by Izu and illustrated by Robin Recht and Patrick Pion, the book opens with a single page prelude showing Dante squaring off against a freakish demon spider. You flip the page and suddenly it’s a year later with Vergil already imprisoned in Hellfire Prison. Two pages later we are back on the street as a demon hands out free samples of Virility. Seconds later the whole place is ablaze and Dante has stepped in to save Kat. From there it just goes further out into the stratosphere and beyond. If you revel in the bizarre, you’ll be right at home here.
As is often the case with Japanese culture being brought into the western world, something is lost in the translation from Japanese to English. Writer Izu’s story is pretty scattered with some head-scratching moments. It opens a lot of doors with story elements, but often abandons them wholeheartedly. Given the ping-pong nature of the story, all of these questions might be answered in the next volume or two, but it does make the journey a little hard to follow.
On the other end of the spectrum is the solid work from Robin Recht and Patrick Pion. Pion tackles the beautiful color work and illustrations, and Recht structured the layout of the comic itself. As you can see in the pictures, the layout emphasizes the action being depicted, with larger panels showing off a ‘boom’ moment nicely. The story may make little sense, but it’s Recht and Pion that bring it to life.
I have a decent sized collection of hardbound art books, so if there is one area where I’m a little picky it’s book construction. The 25-page full color graphic novel is bound in a very solid spine and book boards – an area usually neglected for a book that only retails for $9.99. My only complaint from a materials standpoint comes from the pages themselves. While the color saturation is perfect, the pages a look like they might have gotten wet. Small ripples throughout the paper give it a wavy effect. It doesn’t cause any issues with smearing, but it does detract from the smoothness of the page. Without another book to compare it to, I’m not sure if this is a process issue or if my copy was damaged in shipping.
In the end, if you are a Devil May Cry fan you are likely accustomed to the storyline making little sense and jumping around like a bead of water in a skillet. For $9.99 it’d be hard to not pick this up to add to the universe, especially when the artwork is this good. While the plot didn’t compel me, the art and construction earns it a place alongside my other great art books.