Book Review: Olympus by Nathan Edmonson
“Zeus granted immortality to two brothers and bound them to his service. Three thousand years later they serve him on Earth, hunting fugitives from Olympus, and maintaining balance and order between the human realm and the divine.”
I picked up Olympus, written by Nathan Edmonson, art by Christian Ward, at the Alabama Phoenix Festival in Birmingham, AL this year. Edmonson was there, selling comics, and the art immediately caught my eye. My copy is signed and I have to say, I do not regret the purchase.
Olympus is an independent comic, or at least it’s not Marvel, DC, or Darkhorse. Image Comics published the four series comic in 2009 and the trade is available for $14.99 on Amazon.com. The binding is excellent and the cover uses a mix of matte and glossy textures effectively. The trade includes a few pinups by guest artists, too.
The art was initially what grabbed me, but it’s also what sometimes makes this tale a four-star find. The line is loose, the colors are soft, and Ward employs color like a proper expressionist painter, favoring mood over reality and local color. Sometimes, however, the colors and the loose lines make it difficult to tell exactly what is going on. Action sequences are unclear. For some, this may not be a problem. For me, as an extremely logical, Athena-type, ambiguity makes me bristle.
Edmonson’s writing tells the tale of Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins, cursed to live forever in the service of Zeus. In the opening scene the twins are at a club for New Years Eve. In a shocking early scene, the unfamiliar versions of these modern heroes shoot each other, point-blank, in public. Castor and Pollux can’t die, so they run around taking care of the remnants of a Greek Pantheon that has (mostly) locked itself away from contemporary earth. The brothers have well-defined, differing personalities and have adapted well to modern life. The real meat of the plot starts when a run in with the rogue god, Hermes, leads to the release of a much more dangerous foe. This enemy is where Ward’s loose, expressive art style really shines.
If you’re a lover of comics and Greek Mythology, Olympus is definitely one to check out. It’s a short, contained run that tells a fun story from start to finish. It’s funny, it’s epic, and the art is worth drooling at for $14.99.
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