The covers: Five choices for you to ponder and collect with this opening issue. The A cover is by Mike S. Miller and Mohan Sivakami showing Venus before her models on the runway. You’d think it was a Victoria’s Secret fashion show since two of the models have wings, but when gods and goddesses are involved you better think twice. It’s a solid cover and the one I purchased. The B is by Pasquale Qualano and Mirka Andolfo with Venus looking in a mirror and seeing her past self. Excellent idea for a cover carried out well, with the coloring being sharp. Vincenzo Cucca and Ylenia Di Napoli do a nice take on the classic Birth of Venus image with Venus staging a sequel. Cover D is by Franchesco! with Venus going Marilyn Monroe. Absolutely stunning! The final cover is by Michael Dooney and Ula Mos and it’s a Fan Expo Exclusive Cover limited to 350 copies. This cover has Venus in a red bikini holding the Canadian flag behind her. I’d go to the Great White North for this one. Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A, D A+, and Fan Expo A
The story: Thanks to a short summary on the inside cover, I was brought up to speed on the premise of this book. The story by Latoya Morgan opens in dramatic fashion with an unseen individual slamming against a mirror, breaking it. Venus is in the room with this person who appears to be pleading for mercy, however the goddess looks down malevolently saying, “Don’t make this any harder than it has to be…” The story then goes to “Before,” before returning to this opening sequence on the last two pages. In Los Angeles, “Before,” Venus emerges from a bath and chats with minion Ivy about how she plans to bring about a New Age of heroes by gathering and aligning all twelve Olympians on earth. In fact, Venus has a specific god she wants Ivy to get. The book moves about Los Angeles showing Venus at her cover job and the first god she seeks to “gather.” I was lost as to what was occurring on Page 17: I didn’t know which character I was focusing on and what that character’s importance was to the story. But, as this is a first issue, I realize some teasing is necessary. I was also lost by the item grasped by Venus on the final page. Again, I can let that go for a first issue. This was an interesting read, with an interesting premise, but the confusion left me liking this rather than loving it. Overall grade: B
The art: This is standard comic book art from Manuel Preitano. It doesn’t thrill by any means, but tells the story sufficiently. Photos are obviously employed for backgrounds, such as on Page 1, and there’s a sad lack of backgrounds in many other panels. When backgrounds are drawn they are really sketchy and come off as clunky, Page 10. Characters’ faces are simply drawn with the colorist having to provide shading to give the faces any type of detail, such as on Pages 3 and 4. There’s also some awkward layout on 22 where the reader has to play fill in the gaps, such as did the “killer” have to bend down to the “victim”? Or was the victim lifted up to be level with the killer? Hard to tell because the action is so tight on character’s heads. There is also a lot of wasted space in panels (Pages 7, the top of 9, 21, etc.). Preitano is still getting a handle on when to be close up on a character and when to pull back. This isn’t fantastic work, but it’s decent. Overall grade: C
The colors: This is a high point of the book. Erick Arciniega is doing much of the work that Preitano didn’t do, like providing shading with faces. This happens on every page, and it’s Arciniega that’s selling the visuals. He also does a really good job in using color to create atmosphere. Take a look at Page 1 with those first two panels. A great job with purples and violets to create a posh, yet sinister, environment. Pages 2 and 3 go with the classical Greek marble colors to suggest Venus’s past. Arciniega’s doing a great job on this issue. Overall grade: A
The letters: Jim Campbell also gets high marks for his efforts on this book. I was really pleased by the use of particular fonts in the dialogue of certain characters to make them stand out from normal humans. Being new to these individuals it was a great way to draw attention to them. Overall grade: A
The final line: An okay first issue, though I’m not really sure about all that’s going on. Interesting, but questionable if I’m going to purchase another issue. It takes a hit because of the art. Overall grade: B-
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.