Archaia Black Label, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-936393-32-9
For some reason, some people believe that a hardcover anthology of illustrated stories inspired by the horrendously bad movie Immortals would be a sure thing. Of course, the inspiration angle is the official pitch; given how slow publishing can work sometimes, I strongly suspect that Immortals: Gods and Heroes is conceived alongside the movie as the start of a bestselling franchise that will make everyone involved lots and lots of money. We all know that the delusions of success died shortly after sane people saw the movie and go, “Hell, no!” and I am convinced that the sin of starring in this movie is the cause of Henry Cavill’s rapid receding hairline.
This one boasts writers and artists that have been affiliated with some pretty impressive franchises, and indeed, the artwork is striking enough to draw me into buying this book. There is even some nudity, although for some reason the amount of clothing increases as one turns the pages. It is as if the people behind this one decided that having naked women in the first story would lure people into buying this book and helping to pad the income of the folks who are now left high and dry by the failure of the movie.
Oh yes, the stories. They are all very short and hence forgettable. Just like in the movie, the Greek gods are portrayed as benevolent and concerned gods who are shown to wrest the fate of humans from the cruel Titans, only to eventually withdraw from meddling in the affairs of man because Zeus wants those mortals to pursue their own destiny and what not. This backfires on Zeus and his fellow gods, as a warrior named Hyperion soon attracts a large following into his army with the rhetoric that the gods are a lie and it is time for them to carve out their own destiny. This is what Zeus wants, but it’s also a case of being careful of what he wished for, as Hyperion’s idea of destiny-carving is based on ruthless conquest and subjugation.
There is some effort to flesh out Hyperion’s past, but it’s a disappointingly clichéd effort, one with dead kids and wives and all the “Ooh, the world sucks, so I’ll be evil now!” drama that follows. Even the effort to show some glimpse into Theseus’s past is as clichéd as can be. Actually, everything about this one is tired and predictable. Nothing about it sticks to my mind when I’m done with it.
The graphics and the packaging are pretty, though. Maybe it’s best to just treat Immortals: Gods and Heroes as a pretty display item on one’s coffee table or book case. Just do what I did: get it from a clearance bin. It will be easier to adopt a more forgiving attitude when one pays only a fraction of its cover price.