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Olympus

Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2005
By: Shaun Manning




Writers: Geoff Johns, Kris Grimminger
Artist: Butch Guice

Publisher: DC Comics/Humanoids

After pulling a mysterious crate from the Aegean Sea, an archeology professor and her two prize students, Rebecca and Brent, believe they have unearthed the mythical Pandora’s Box, the source of all evil. Sarah, Rebecca’s layabout sister along for the ride, is less sure. Debate is disrupted when the group is boarded by a group of modern day pirates, and the only way to survive may be to lift the box’s lid once more. Bad leads to worse, however, when scholars and sailors find themselves at the foot of Olympus, hounded by the vilest creatures ever conceived.

Following up on The Possessed, the Johns/Grimminger team is carving out its niche for monster fiction. While Olympus doesn’t make grand leaps in examining the classical themes of mythology, careful readers will notice something very interesting: there are no gods on Olympus. Only monsters survive. This seems to suggest that beings wrought of fear and shame will endure long after a culture’s ideals of purity have vanished. Or, perhaps, the writers just wanted to tell a story about man-eating birds without having to worry about Zeus getting in the way.

Butch Guice draws some beautiful women (one of them in a bathing suit for the entire book, no less!), but the men of Olympus are so generic that it’s frequently difficult to keep track of who survived a given attack, or even whether the character depicted is a good guy or bad. No, sunglasses are not enough of a distinguishing feature. Then again, maybe one just has to accept that all men look alike.

As what looks to be one of the final books of the DC/Humanoids partnership, it is rather enlightening to see how American creators operate in a European-flavored imprint. Olympus favors heavily the gruesome battle scene and poster-perfect still shots over complex narrative, but for those retaining a sense of awe and wonder at ancient mysteries this is certainly an engaging lesson.



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