Written By Jake Garner
Image’s latest chronicle come to life, The Discipline, hit the shelves in March this year. So far it has only revealed itself through two issues that have followed each other quite closely. Personally here, being a huge Image Comics fan, The Discipline has not failed to disappoint so far. Independent story-lines, and their ability to grip you by the lapels and suck you into their narrative, become apparent within the first few issues. As a rule, never judge a new comic book series based entirely on the first issue. The second issue should be treated as a continuity of the first and will suggest whether you want to invest your time into the story or not. By the third issue we usually know if we will see the tale through. That is where The Discipline is at; we are waiting for the third issue.
Anybody that follows Image knows that they publish some raunchy stuff, with a sort of ‘no holes barred’ attitude contained within the stories they release. The Discipline most certainly falls into this category. The Image website itself descries the series as “An all-new series about sex, death and metamorphosis”. They are not lying, that is for sure. Writer, Peter Milligan, has worked with principle artist on the series, Leandro Fernandez, to bring to life something of a fairy-tale nature with a dark and twisted edge. The Discipline is well out of reach from the usual comic book superhero style. It is a gritty, true to life (despite the mythical creatures enclosed within its pages), series that expresses raw power through the emotion of lust. ‘Lust’, as a feeling that all of us hold, whether willingly or not, is the focus of this new kid on the block. Image has done something along these lines before with series such as Sex Criminals, but Milligan’s series seems to be an extension of such ideologies, with deeper and darker tones attached; if possible, which it is by the way. The lack of restrictions and boundaries Image has, in regards to their physical content, works as one of the greatest contributors to ‘freedom of speech’ in comic books. Though this is true, Image does run the risk of becoming a kind of ‘fetish weekly playboy-esque’ magazine. Saying this, I’m sure there are plenty of fans that would have to problem with this. A lot of the larger comic publishers tend to be quite tame in support of their readership. Image, for me, is without a doubt an ‘adult’ outlet.
So what does The Discipline offer by the way of content? Well, I can only divulge so much as the series is still in its infancy, but let’s hope it matures into something substantial. Don’t take this the wrong way though. So far it has been a very promising series. From what we have seen though, the story follows what seems to be its protagonist, Melissa. We witness a women who has a very envious and bitter sister, a husband who she can no longer stand to look at and a mysterious figure who she starts, how do I put this pleasantly enough for you readers out there, having coitus with. Unknowingly to Melissa, she starts to embark upon a bizarre and eerie journey towards her ‘discipline’, though by the end of issue two we are still not 100% sure what that exactly means. Mythological beasts start to immerge amongst the hazy orgy, amidst the explicit use of sex and gore. In some ways it seems like an episode of Buffy gone wrong, but as mentioned, make up your own mind and pick up issue one. If you enjoy other Image titles such as Saga and Sex Criminals, then this is right up your street. The series shows much promise, and speaking for myself, I am waiting for the next issue to be released; usually a good sign with any comic book series. Personally, the crude carnality of The Discipline makes for a revitalising read, especially if you are looking to get away from places such as Gotham and Wakanda. Though I would not suggest changing your kids Totally Awesome Hulk comics with The Discipline, unless you are the kind of parent that looks forward to awkward and, quite frankly, unanswerable questions. Let’s face it, The Discipline hasn’t provided us all the answers yet.