A friend of mine not too long ago just happened to mention to me that there was a recent story on NPR about Indian comic books available in the US. As a big comic book enthusiast, I had to check them out, and Devi was the very first one I read. I have to say that Virgin Comics is doing a wonderful service by bringing these great comics to the US. Devi is a superb comic that has it all - great art, great writing, and a good story.
The story follows Tara, a beautiful young woman and girlfriend of a powerful Indian gangster, who is also destined to be the Devi, a mortal goddess incarnate who is to save humanity from the power of the dark demon god Lord Bala (think Lord of the Rings' Sauron combined with a bat and you have him). As Tara is captured by a mysterious, ancient cult in order to bring about her incarnation as Devi, she runs afoul of Kratha, a renegade mystical assassin who had quit the forces of heaven and is working for herself, and one of Lord Bala's generals, who has been undercover as Tara's boyfriend. Another interested party is the rakish, alcoholic but virtuous detective Singh, who has noticed a lot of strange mystical happenings going on lately.
You might think of this as a new interpretation of the Image Witchblade comic - indeed, they share similar concepts: a beautiful young woman with a mythic destiny, imbued with occult power, fights demonic powers in a dark, crumbling urban landscape. However, this comic goes out of its way to make things seem fresh and new. Everything here seems novel and well-thought-out, and has a distinctly different cultural flavor to it, which is something I think American comics need. The art is spectacular - highly detailed, but still in a grand comic book style. The dialogue is also great - the characters are fairly conversational in their speech, and even the kinds of exposition and exchanges that are so often awkward in most American comics work. There are also some really well done, novel turns of phrase here that are sure to please. I highly recommend this comic to anyone interested in a good comic book read. Enjoy!