Who Provides Medical Services for Super Villains?
Medisin Volume 1: First Do No Harm
By: Jeff Dyer, Mike McKeon, and David Brame
I know the title sounds like I’m going to talking about health care for the Trump administration (couldn’t resist) but this question is actually the premise of a new series of graphic novels. A team of doctors — all of whom have questionable backgrounds — have banded together to take care of the world’s super villains. All of the doctors are aware they are treating villains, and all of them have their own justifications for doing so. Though the doctors promise to give the villains their best care, there’s no guarantee that the villains will treat the doctors with the same level of nicety. To top it all off, the head of all the super villains has placed some sort of virus or parasite in the doctors’ bodies to keep them in line. Basically, they cannot defect even if they wanted to. There is only one doctor with the special “privilege” of being parasite-free. He can leave anytime he wants, but he needs to stay for reasons the reader will discover.
While the characterization in Medisin is lackluster, the cast of characters is itself interesting. There’s a pregnant villain who is protective of her growing fetus, a sex-addicted doctor, a doctor and mother from China, a teenage boy, a doctor who lost his license, a pedophillic villain, a pedophillic doctor (unrelated), a goblin, and a hyper-aware computer system, among others. Because this is still the beginning of the series, I think there are many more villains to meet, but all of the doctors are introduced in the first volume.
Medisin has so many fascinating possibilities that I’m quite sad the writing is so poor. The writing is truly, truly awful. Every character seems to have a story and it doesn’t feel like the artists understand the first rule of comics: show, don’t tell. The characters randomly go off into these page-long monologues explaining the values of the corporation or delve into self-righteous soliloquies that fit awkwardly into the flow of the story. I get that the reader does need to know this information, but it definitely could have been done better.
I was also upset with Medisin’s coloring. I won’t fault the artists for their color palette, but the coloring overall was rather dull. I’m not sure if that was because I was reading a protective PDF, but reading Medisin hurt my eyes. For some reason, the artists chose to color the computer’s dialogue in white in green. All of her (his?) speech bubbles are green with white writing, making them almost impossible to read.
I’m not sure how the book is formatted on the Kindle, but reading Medisin on my phone was such a challenge. I recommend reading Medisin on a larger screen.
Medisin actually kind of reminded me of a particular episode of Grey’s Anatomy (spoiler alert). Grey and Shepard were tasked with treating a patient on death row. He was scheduled to be executed about a week from when he was admitted into the hospital. Both doctors were horrified by what the criminal had done and that he was to be executed soon, but Shepard refused to treat the criminal fairly while Grey wanted to give him a fighting chance. In the end, the criminal confesses to manipulating Grey’s emotions, but it’s unclear whether he’s trying to convince himself of this (meaning he’s a good person on the inside) or Grey (meaning she wasted her time believing in him).
This philosophical thread seems to be the basis of Medisin. The relationships between characters and the doctors reasons for helping villains are sufficiently compelling to keep me interested in the story. If the artists strengthen their writing and make a few color changes, Medisin might potentially become iconic.
I can’t find it on Thriftbooks, but Medisin is available on Amazon. I got this copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and I’m glad I had the opportunity.