God Is Dead Vol. 1 (Avatar)

CREDIT: Avatar

Rating: 3/5 – So Many Great Ideas That Are Not Fully Explored.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

God is Dead is full of great ideas, which is no surprise considering it’s co-written by Jonathan Hickman. Unfortunately, those great ideas fall flat as this first volume quickly rushes through them, never exploring one for too long and never allowing the reader to see those ideas take on greater meaning. At times because of the quick pace and the potential of the ideas falling short of their potential, it almost feels as though Hickman and co-writer Mike Costa are at odds with the direction this book should go. God is Dead is an entertaining read, but it falls short in the promise of its premise.

As the story opens, apocalyptic scenarios are ravaging the planet. Floods, earthquakes and more are killing millions of people. As the world looks to their gods for some type of answer to their prayers, Zeus is the first god to arrive on earth looking to be worshipped. From there, over the course of this book’s first six issues more and more gods arrive and begin to war with one another which doesn’t bode well for the human population. The heroes of the book are a small group of scientists that look to create their own god, a god of science, in hopes of stopping the ancient gods from destroying the world. Each idea along the way is strong, but it’s the execution along the way that fails.

As the group of scientists attempt to create their first god, they argue whether or not there needs to be a story about it’s birth that would get others to believe. It’s a compelling argument that’s relevant to today’s analysis of religion, but the idea is introduced in one panel, and moved away from just a few panels later. Also, as each god is introduced they all feel relatively the same. Loki and Zeus are both similar in their personalities and the way that they speak so at times the only differentiation is from the art. The gods are all violent, and all just a tad crazy. All the other gods like Anubis, Bast and others eventually all do battle with one another, giving the book a heavy dose of violence which Avatar is usually known for, focusing more on that and less on the religious differences and the motives behind their wars.

Artist Di Amorim does a nice job with art as he presents the gods in all their regality, each with their own set of unique features. Although there are at times too many battles in the book, this is where Amorin shines. His action scenes are fantastic and many of them have an epic feel to them. Unfortunately the regular humans lack the same polish, making them feel flat and simple. There’s also a couple problems with storytelling even in the art. In a particular scene a god is starting to form and after first appearing with four arms, a couple panels later she’s down to two. It’s something that shouldn’t be missed, but unfortunately is, again making the book feel rushed.

Overall, God is Dead will entertain, but it feels like it could be so much more. In an industry that is decompressing the writing, at times it’s refreshing to read a book that tells a full and detailed story in six issues. Unfortunately, there’s so many great ideas waiting to be explored within this first volume and none of them get their fair share of time except for the violence. Hickman has proven to be a solid writer so hopefully later volumes are paced a bit slower, I’m just not sure if I want to take the time to find out.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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