At its heart, "Discipline" is an erotic thriller that bills itself as a supernatural coming of age story. It follows a young woman whose longings for escape from a passionless marriage make her a target for seduction by a sect of centuries-old sexual predators. Mellisa has little time to get used to the idea when the organization's natural enemies make her a target.
And while the basic setup seems immediately familiar, the character's coming to grips with the dangerous new world is genuinely gripping thanks to the creators' efforts. The lithe, whipsmart Mellisa could have easily come off as condescending considering her station in life, but by defining her by her limitations, Milligan and Fernandez turn her into a compelling protagonist. By not immediately losing sight of her life and family once she comes in contact with the mythology they have created, the creators make her all the more believable.
Indeed, despite featuring Mellisa in all sorts of undress, she loses none of her appeal, as her sexual awakening is part and parcel of the coming of age aspect that works in concert with the genre elements. Thus, working in reverse of a traditional superhero narrative, "Discipline" commits to both sides of the adult equation. Having the characters actually engage in sexual activity that is graphic but never gratuitous works to make the story live up to the billing of an erotic thriller. Sexuality in "Discipline" is intriguing and dangerous, but it's also at times humorous and ironic, with the creators' status as veterans in the field enabling them to imbue their story with the appropriate wit and sophistication.
On the strength of these initial six issues, it's clear that Image has grown past a superhero publisher to support a series that acts as a more mature take on "Witchblade". It's another matter entirely whether it will end up supporting "Discipline" until the title connects with it's intended audience. The extended delay may signal that the publisher is considering how to proceed with the property, and hopefully this won't be the last we see of the intriguing characters and set-up behind Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez' creation.