Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Devi #6: In Which the Main Character Finally Shows Up!

Main Heroes: Devi/Tara Mehta, Rahul Singh

Ambiguous Others: The Durapasya, Cabinet of Shadows, Agantuk, Amara Gaelle

The followers of the Devi have failed to kill her new host Tara, and now the Devi spirit has for the first time entered a live host. Devi lies dormant, and Tara is in a coma, being protected by Rahul Singh. The Cabinet of Shadows is aware of what has transpired, but is primarily concerned with finding "The Source," an unexplained vessel containing "Millennia of human prayers" that is apparently very powerful. The evil god Bala has hired Amara Gaelle to find it, and it seems that one of Devi's tasks will be to find it and give it to the "good" gods. Amara Gaelle, however, is working as a double agent for the Cabinet of Shadows. She is attempting to throw Bala off the trail and deliver the Source of the Cabinet instead. The Cabinet of Shadows does not want to power of the Source given to any of the gods -- good or evil -- feeling that its power would oppress humanity no matter which deity obtained it.

Meanwhile, Tara has regained consciousness after a month unconscious in the morgue. As she and Rahul discuss her situation, they disappear, drawn to where she is prayed to by a mother whose children are being taken away by a gang. Disoriented at first, when the fighting starts the Devi asserts herself, using her powers to disperse the gang. When a gang member threatens to kill a child if she doesn't let him go, Devi risks the child's life to attack the gang member anyway, saying that "Individual mortal lives have always been acceptable sacrifices."

At the end, it is reported that Iyam -- boyfriend of Tara and follower of Bala -- has escaped.


After several issues of ambiguity, the facts are coming together, and what's interesting about the coalescing facts is that they make the morality of the actors all the more ambiguous.

Tara we know is "good", if innocent, and so is Rahul -- the hard drinking cop with a heart of gold that we know from our grizzled crime fiction. Beyond that, though, it gets murky. I had previously compared Devi to an Indian "Wonder Woman", but now that comparison is getting strained. The Cabinet makes a compelling case against submission to the gods -- any gods -- as humanity needs to be the master of its own destiny. Devi is a god-like agent of the "good gods", but appears to have a morality that permits the ends to justify the means. This lends credence to the Cabinet's warnings about the Source: "In [Bala's] hands, it could spell doom for us all. Even if the gods' hands, stregth of such magnitude would do more harm than good."

Is the Cabinet guilty of hubris -- placing themselves about the gods? If Devi a force for "good", fighting the evil "Bala", or is she just another example of absolute power corrupting? Definitely the first inklings of complex characterizations going on here. Too bad that it has taken 6 issues to get this far.

This issue gets an A+, bringing the entire series so far up to a B+.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
I am a big fan of Devi series. I really like artwork and story/script. I think it's wonderful. I am really liking dialogue also e.g. when Devi/Tara says, "Thanks babe, but I am not Tara. Tara's left the building for a bit."
Yours humbly,

6:42 AM  

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