By Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa, Di Amorim, & Juanmar
These days, Jonathan Hickman is on the radar of most serious comic book readers. He has not only masterminded a number of very successful titles at Marvel, including large cross-over events, but he’s also created some of the most popular, and certainly more inventive creator-owned titles at Image Comics. However, God is Dead is a six-issue mini-series being published by Avatar Press. As of this initial installment though, it is clear that his unique brand of bizarre story-telling will remain unimpeded.
God is Dead is a story in which gods are…well, not dead. They are, in fact, quite real. Anthropomorphic personifications of a number of well-known deities have returned to Earth seeking worship once again. They are thoroughly displeased with how we have turned out. They’ve not only caused a number of major disasters, but their arrival has also sparked a global religious war. Being the first issue of a Hickman book, there is still so much left to be introduced to the plot. However, the end of issue #1 sees a council of deities from various pantheons uniting in order to take the planet. This story is sure to get quite expansive with such lofty foundations being constructed. Although we only see the protagonists briefly, the rag-tag band of resistance fighters seem poised to throw a major wrench into the nefarious plans of the higher beings.
Having published works like Alan Moore’s Neonomicon, Avatar Press is certainly not squeamish or overly conservative regarding what they allow in their books. This fact has allowed the brutality often found scattered throughout Hickman’s works a place which serves to drive home just what a horrific impact recent events have had on the world. Furthermore, although his books are often considered relatively difficult to follow, God is Dead appears to be very straight forward in its delivery compared to previous titles. However, this doesn’t hamper the feel of the book, nor does it take anything away from the epic sensibility of the overall story. There is clearly so much more to be developed, but the pacing is excellent for an opening issue.
The artwork is appropriately grandiose, particularly when portraying the gods themselves, as well as their surroundings. Every panel is magnificently realized, with a great deal of attention given to the background details and the better known features of each deity. The tremendous shadowing is another of the better aspects of the visuals in God is Dead #1. Finally, the coloring really enhances the wonderful amount of detail apparent throughout this book, with a very vivid palette that really brings each image to life.
Although the story doesn’t appear particularly deep at this point, there is certainly a sense of the epic throughout the pages of God is Dead. The plot is fantastically interesting and different, and there is a ton of potential for something really special with this book.