With the TV and comic adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, it seems that I've been able to find many more people willing to treat the scriptures and dogma as the backgrounds for their own narratives. I'm a huge fan of this, as there are an incredible amount of characters and situations that have spawned over the millennia and that provide for stories that are always new to me and interesting because of the depth of the mythos around them. This book brings in a Judeo-Christian background to serve as counterpoint to the hero based on the Egyptian pantheon, Menthu, who spends his non-powered time as a Tight End for the Los Angeles Archangels professional football team. Part Dogma, part action adventure, and all earnestly told, Menthu is a title that stands out from the usual fare.
I always find that the folks writing this kind of story have done incredible amounts of research; usually, every named character has come from some part of the actual scriptures or texts. This lends these characters a gravitas that's layered and engaging. The stakes usually start extremely high and that propels the story with a tension that takes you to the edge of your seat. Being as unfamiliar with the Egyptian gods as I am (I recall Ra and Anubis, but outside of the aforementioned Gaiman work, I've not much interaction with that set.) makes me curious as to what is from the religion and what the impact of the authors is, though either way it makes me more interested in learning about them further, so that I can more enjoy the superhero that we're being introduced to. His powers stem from the sun, and light is the primary weapon he can use when the metaphorical Golgotha hits the fan. When a couple of demonic and angelic heavy hitters take the stage, he has his hands full, as he's still learning just what he's capable of. I really enjoyed every aspect of the story, especially the implied jockeying of the myriad factions involved.
The artwork is clean and well developed. Keeping with a black-and-white scheme, the team focuses on smooth action and good composition in the panels. There are a few broken-pane techniques showcased here and there which help to impact the reader with the powers on display. They're used well and with good restraint, allowing the audience to be properly impressed without overuse. All of the characters are unique and interesting, making for a cast that helps the story to be followed easily while making each character worth the individual attention paid to them.
Anyone who enjoys battles with the universe on the line will really enjoy this book, and the content brings a whole different and new connotation for "The Big Two." There's a lot to unpack for the reader, and it flows with an elegant pace that keeps the subject from being overwhelming in any way.
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Creative Team: Robert Roach (Creator/Pencils/Lettering), Hannibal Tabu (Story Writer), Quinn McGowan (Artist)
Publisher: Hometown Productions/Black Inc! Imprints
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