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Shekhar Kapur's Devi    by Siddharth Kotian, Samit Basu & Mukesh Singh order for
Shekhar Kapur's Devi
by Siddharth Kotian
Order:  USA  Can
Virgin Comics, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

India's rich cultural history is chock full of engaging material waiting to be revealed to the Western world. With some of the oldest myths and legends and a still-worshiped pantheon of gods and goddesses, it was only a matter of time before American culture began to call upon such resources for entertainment. Hence, Shekhar Kapur's Devi, an exciting and intriguing epic of good against evil starting in ancient times but playing out in the present.

Everyone seems to have plans for Tara Mehta, including her boyfriend Iyam, who just happens to be a big crime boss in the city of Sitapur, India. As she is chased by the evil god, Lord Bala, a monastic cult known as the Durapasya, and a super-powered female assassin named Kratha, she befriends Inspector Rahul Singh, an officer who has hit a rough streak. Before the night is out, she will become the reincarnated demi-goddess Devi who is sworn to protect the world from Bala. But the person known as Tara may have to die in the process, and she is not prepared to forfeit her life for another's.

The series hits the ground with a running start that utilizes Indian folklore while establishing its own narrative tone. It will be interesting to see if it can maintain this balance of Indian influence and action-packed adventure without succumbing to repetition, cliché, or Americanization. The art balances gritty and lined sketches set in the real world with colorful and elegant paintings when dealing with characters in the kingdom of the gods and goddesses.

The artists include additional information about the myth and sources that reveal Devi's story from ancient tales. Though this is useful, it might have proven even more helpful to give a brief introduction to Indian mythology or even just the major gods and goddesses, to give readers a better understanding of Indian culture. The book also includes a short piece about the later adventures of Devi and Rahul as well as notes on sketches and scripts.

This opening book will certainly grab readers. Proclaiming its protagonist 'India's First Super-Heroine,' the series certainly seems to have positive energy, both in its narrative and the introduction of Indian culture. Weaving together mythic lore and science-fiction, action and ritual, reality and the beyond, Devi will certainly impress.

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