“And you, Wyn? Are you good, or are you evil?”
“Stephen, my boy… who can tell the difference anymore?”
When I opened the issue, I got hit with that same preview that we saw in this year’s FCBD Avengers/X-Men issue, so I went “Okay, what’s next?”
And then it hit me with that bold two-page credits page, which really set what this book is going for, what Marvel is trying to do with this book. It doesn’t just start off with “G.O.D.S.”, and then some synopsis and then the credits. It starts off with “Marvel Comics Presents: G.O.D.S.” It’s small, it’s minor, and to the average person it’s basically nothing, but to me, that’s being bold. That’s showing confidence. So the question immediately in my mind was, “Can they live up to that confidence?”, which is a stupid question, I mean, come on, it’s a Hickman, Schiti, and Gracia joint.
But yeah, they live up to it.
Immediately on this page we get a sense of what the visual style of the book is going to look like, with its bright reds and sharp angles. That being said, the lack of any data pages in this issue was fascinating. It’s all story, aside from two splash pages that display that a flashback is coming up before throwing us into the present. It’s not a complaint by any means, rather it left me interested in whether or not Hickman will do data pages for this book, or if he’s holding himself back this time?
The flashback is great. Without using a lot of exposition, we’re familiarized with the three core players in this story (so far, anyway): Wyn, Aiko and Dimitri. A lot goes on here, we get a look at the relationship between Wyn and Aiko & Wyn and Dimitri, while also giving us a taste of the kind of world – the kind of people – we’ll be seeing in this title, as well as setting up what drives our three characters.
In the present, we’re introduced to more concepts and more characters, some who readers will already be familiar with given their presence in the wider Marvel Universe. It’s also here where we’re introduced to the stakes, before once again being taken on a road trip across the various places we’ll probably be visiting over the course of the story. Even though we don’t know much, I was endlessly fascinated by the little tastes we got, because if there’s anything a Hickman book is good at, it’s how to really get the reader’s imagination running, thinking of the possibilities, thinking of where we’re going to be going next.
Wyn is a very interesting protagonist. He reads very much like Hickman’s take on a John Constantine-esque character, but there’s enough here for him to stand out and be distinct, rather than just be a copy. The issue is paced spectacularly, and it’s self-contained to the point where it almost reads like a one-shot with a hook for more, instead of just a cliffhanger for the next one.
Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia go wild with the art in this issue. It’s a beautiful book, with a lot of angular panels during action sequences to really define speed. Perfect use of the 9-panel grid too, always making sure the key point of any page is always at the center while the dialogue revolves around it. Gracia’s colours are as gorgeous as ever. No notes. Love Travis Lanham’s letters too, especially how the framing around Dimitri’s device talking is very exact, just how its words are. Great stuff.
I understand that the price point might be a deal-breaker for a lot of folks, but I promise, aside from the credits, every single page of G.O.D.S. #1 is just story, and it’s a great story. This definitely might be one for the ages, if they can keep up the momentum from here, and knowing how strong this creative team is, they absolutely will.