This is another Hickman book, and no I did not do this on purpose. I usually buy a big batch of comics and graphic novels then choose which ones I read next, just so happens that these two came up back to back. This one came out in late 2013, so it has been around for a few years. I do remember when this one came out and was immediately intrigued as to what it was about. I am a big fan of philosophy so the title, which you may not know is a Frederic Niche saying, really grabbed my attention and sucked me in. I knew I could not pass this one up.
Again Hickman is the writer on this tittle, I have read enough of his books that I am not going to spend much time on his bio. You can check out my reviews of Transhuman, The Red Wing, East of West, The Manhattan Projects, and The Secret to learn more about him.
The story opens up with a plethora of Biblical sized disasters that strike the world killing billions. During the aftermath the gods from all walks of man’s ancient past come back to Earth including: the Norse gods, Egyptian gods, South American gods, Greek gods, and the Hindu gods. They make a pact to divide up the world and conquer each portion as they once did thousands of years ago. Shortly after the pact is made a few of the gods grow restless and decide that the want to rule the whole world themselves. What follows is a war of the gods that leaves mankind reduced to ashes. While the gods are jockeying for territory there is a small band of humans dedicated to killing the gods that are destroying the planet.
I really liked this story from start to finish. Not sure if I have talked about this before but I have always found ancient mythology fascinating. I have even read Edith Hamilton’sMythology which is more like something that should be read in the classroom, and I am sure most people would find boring. Still I thought it was interesting and that book has helped me get quite a few Jeopardy questions right.
Regardless if you are not a huge nerd like me and a fan of mythology you will still find this one interesting. There are some great fight scenes that always end in bloody gory deaths of gods. Who does not want to see two gods duke it out and fight to the death? This to me was the major selling point of this story, the battles, they do not get more epic and destructive than Zeus vs. Odin or Thro vs. Horus. All the battles were great and made for an entertaining and exciting read. The only negative I have is that quite a few of the gods die in exactly the same way, and kind of felt like it was a little bit of a cop out. I felt there could have been a little more originality when it come to this aspect, but it was not that big of a deal.
Honestly, I cannot believe that no one had thought of this before, it is a pretty simple idea. I’m not trying to down play the idea or take anything away from the creativity of Hickman but I am really surprised that a story like this has not come out before. I will also say that is could very well be out there I just have not read or seen it.
Again I thought Hickman did an excellent job of building a very irrational world, as is sometimes the case when dealing with the supernatural and religion. By that I mean that all the humans that are still alive after have become very silly, to say the least basically they have all gone crazy religious fanatics. The few that are still sane are trying to stop the gods, but how do you kill a god, that is the major question of the book. The answer is quite extraordinary and has me sucked in to read the next trade as the way this one ended really has me wondering what will happen next.
Although I liked this story I did feel that at times I found myself comparing it toSupergod by Warren Ellis. There are quite a few similarities to this plot in that one. I will say that I though the overall plot inSupergod was way more unique, not that this plot is overdone, but still the similarities are there. But I will say that I have never read a story involving gods like this one, and as long as I am judging I liked this one.
This is an ongoing series but Hickman is only the writer for this first trade or the first six issues. While I was reading this one I thought to myself, this guy must be working his behind off writing so many ongoing series at the same time, but upon further research that is not the case. Apparently Mike Costa is now the current writer on the series with Alan Moore and Simon Spurrier writingGod is Dead: Book of Acts. I am not sure if that is a sequel or what? I guess it is just set in the same universe with some of the same or similar characters, I could not find out much info about that book other than it was released last year and seems to be hard to find. Also at the end of this trade there is an interlude, or short story that involves some Chinese gods and a dragon. I am not sure how that ties into anything else, but perhaps those questions are answered in the next trade. Still this was an odd addition to the story.
The artwork in this one is a very traditional style. Once I started reading I never even gave the artwork a second thought, it is a very high quality that you would expect from a big publisher. Sometimes stories like this one from smaller publishers, Avatar Press, will use a highly stylized artwork with a story like this. I am glad they didn’t, I think this story flowed better using the traditional style and made it easier to read. The colors in this one are very rich and vibrant, but mostly dark. I did not see a lot of vibrant colors, other than in a hand full of fight scenes, but nothing is lost because of that. The page layouts and scene selection are average to above average. There were some really cool full page spreads, that I always think are never done enough. I have read numerous graphic novels where there have not been any and that is a little disappointing. Still in this one with all the epic battle scenes and a hand full of full page splashes thrown in truly brings the artwork to life.
I really liked this one, and felt it was a really neat an entertaining read. I was a little shocked that when I checked other reviews they were not as positive as I thought they would be. To me the story was solid along with great artwork and page layouts, what more can you ask for. It is worth mentioning that this series now has reached 4 volumes, and after reading the first trade am very curious where the story is going not to mention how it has been kept going for so long. As I mentioned above there is quite a lot of death in this one so I would think they would run out of characters, but I guess not. Regardless I liked this first trade and I recommend checking this one out, it is a fun exciting read.