By Zoë Quinn, Robbi Rodriguez, Rico Renzi, Simon Bowland
Goddess Mode is a new series from Vertigo that’s flying under the radar as a well-rounded, forward thinking cyberpunk comic. Back in last December’s debut issue, the team of Zoe Quinn as writer, Robbi Rodriguez as artist, Rico Renzi as colorist and Simon Bowland as letterer laid out the world and gave a baseline for each main character; a cast of young, punk oracle women. Issue #2 of Goddess Mode continues to build on that groundwork, but pulls a little harder toward the thematics thanks to lots of informative dialogue. We pick up right where we left off last issue as Cassandra, our main character and illustrious trash sorceress falls deeper down the rabbit hole of the world beneath reality, where monsters called Daemons reign.
From that first moment, readers know what genre they’re getting into thanks to Bowland’s lettering. He does a great job of grounding sound effects into the environment and colors from Rico Renzi blend those seamlessly into the art. His palette is as neon as expected from a cyberpunk story, where the world is louder and brighter and shinier than anything else. Their work together is best described as synesthetic; they meld sound and lights together and fill in every page with sensory. It gives this book density.
That feeling flows over into the writing, too. Quinn’s got a lot of ground to cover when it comes to fleshing out her main plot, side plot(s?), and four primary characters and it’s worth nothing that she handles it without resorting to huge boxes of narration. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, Quinn’s move is doubly effective. She relies on her characters to inform each other, and the reader, about where and who they are. After both issues so far, Quinn’s given readers a lot to learn—but she’s still hinting at something just beyond the surface.
The characters are a huge part of the balancing act in this info heavy issue. Goddess Mode’s cast is highlighted with the dialogue as well as Rodriguez’ art. This cast is hard, fun to be around, but still drops gorgeous bits of positivity. They tell each other things like “You were strong enough to survive. That’s special, and heartbreakingly rare.” So far, that’s the whole idea of this series and it’s well communicated.
The art carries that message, too. Rodriguez draws every character distinctively so that each one has a physical reaction empowering their words. He’s never afraid to stretch his figures or play with realism to communicate an idea, which is welcome in this series. His work shades each bit of dialogue a little differently, giving it newfound meaning. Rodriguez’s monsters, and the women who destroy them, are dynamic and expressive.
Goddess Mode #2 is full, fun and feminist. Woven through more narrative development and worldbuilding, Goddess Mode #2 dishes out touching character development and comforting messages (along with a not-so-comforting twist) and, of course, giant punk monsters. It’s a great pull for sci-fi fans looking for a world visually and narratively fascinating.
Wanna check it out? Head over to our preview of this issue here.