Upon downloading Behemoth #1 from comiXology today I found myself completely taken in by the world Christopher Kipiniak and J.K. Woodward have created…
Chapter 1 – “THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE”
From the opening pages we witness an unconditional love between mother and daughter, a love that despite what is happening still exists. With government agents closing in, it becomes clear that the young girl – Theresa has some issues to deal with, and not the normal changes a young girl might be going through. Instead we witness a warts and all manifestation of mutation: a manifestation that we are guided through via a dictated letter – allowing the reader to experience both sides of the moment. This experience is brought to life vividly through the artwork, especially the way in which the opening page presents six panel of emotional conflict. We vividly view the Mother’s struggle via facial expression as she attempts to dissuade the Government from entering her house
Now let’s talk about the mutant elephant in the room. Yes there are mutants in this book but these are not the spandex clad, catch phrase sprouting, Marvel merchandise machines. The mutants in Behemoth instead resemble ugly natural monsters, in appearance and some in attitude and behaviour, encapsulated by a dark colour pallet that is emphasised by uses of darkness and light. These mutants feel realistic, an actual evolution – rather than an excuse to dish out flashy powers and body armour. In viewing their lives there is a clear proclamation that we are far from any school for gifted youngsters.
We experience Teresa’s conflicts alongside her, especially as her choices lead her further into their world. The fact we later see Theresa’s mother being informed of her daughter’s passing reflects the door to Teresa’s old life closing, perhaps the door her Mother was trying to keep closed on the opening page?
Behemoth reminds me in some ways of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in that we get to reflect on the thought process of Theresa, allowing the reader into her mind – share her experiences first hand. It reflects a judgemental attitude in society that is even uglier than the mutants in the story. The chapter title “THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE” rings rhetoric as the chapter ends.