Published on March 2nd, 2016 | by JCDoyle0
The Discipline #1 Review
No matter how prepared you think you are for Peter Milligan’s The Discipline, it’s not enough. Even after the opening gambit of a full on monster romp (that’s literally monsters) it doesn’t ready you for what’s to follow. To say The Discipline is ‘full on’ would be hitting the nail directly on the head, hard.
Twenty something, Melissa Peake, leads an unsatisfying life. From the very beginning Milligan shows the reader how inadequate the central character feels and despite the busy panels there is definitely a hole in her life. She comes from a humble family that on the surface are jealous that she escaped, even refusing her help even though she has much to offer. Add to this her constantly absent husband and it makes perfect sense that she would be intrigued by a stranger who pays her a moments notice. The moment that Orlando chooses to introduce himself, before Goya’s erotic painting Venus and the Satyr probably helps to explain Melissa’s sexual reaction to this floppy haired enigma.
It could be said that the speed at which their ‘relationship’ progresses is a little unrealistic but firstly Milligan wants to get the story moving and secondly there is definitely seductive magic at work therefore Mellissa’s instant infatuation could be put down to something out of her control. In fact the whole seductive nature of The Discipline raises some difficult questions about the main characters sexual encounters. One the one hand Melissa seems to be enjoying her new lease of life and enjoying the sexual adventure. On the other Orlando is definitely taking advantage of her and leading her down some very dark paths. Whether he turns out to be hero or villain remains to be seen but he definitely isn’t a ‘good guy’.
The uncomfortable narrative doesn’t end with the dubious sexual content, some of Leandro Fernandez’s panels are creepy, disturbing or just plain upsetting. Take Orlando and Mellissa’s first meeting in the gallery as an example; the page starts with an erotic image taking centre stage which is followed by a rather threatening conversation between two strangers and then the panel that is most disturbing comes at the bottom of the page. Orlando’s arm is viewed from below dissecting the panel and leading the readers eye towards his hand which is inappropriately placed between Millissa’s legs. Half obscured by Orlando’s arm and her own hair, her shocked face gapes wordlessly as her hand hangs in the air helplessly as if she is overcome, completely unsure what just happened.
There is a feeling throughout The Discipline that Mellissa is falling, out of control, on a downward spiral. She starts off fairly confident in herself, not in a happy life but she was in control of it. By the end she had started to get some of the things she wanted but not at all in the way that she wanted them; she is losing control of her life and herself. It’s reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice as she falls down the rabbit hole but with an Alan Moore erotic twist.
Fernandez has a smooth and fluid style which works well with the erotic nature of the comic and the bold colours provide some clever contrasts and intriguing set pieces. The artists also make sure that the most shocking moments in the story are not the liberal sex and nudity which should not be shocking but the violence towards Mellissa which is unacceptable.
The weakest part of the comic comes at the very end when Orlando undergoes a ritual that takes him to another world to speak with a strange council of creatures. Think of The Powers That Be from Angel in all their glowing white glory. By taking the action away from the urban setting at the end of this first issue doesn’t add anything and should maybe have been held over for the next issue.
Overall this is a magnificent first issue and Milligan delivers an unnerving, erotically charged script which Fernandez illustrates in kind. It goes without saying that it’s not for all but it’s worth a read especially if you’re a fan of erotic gothic horror’s such as Dracula or Interview With The Vampire.
Title: The Discipline
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Leandro Fernandez
Colours: Cris Peter