MYTHOI Book 2: Where the Circle BeginsA comic review article by: Felicity Gustafson
MYTHOI is a real eye opener for any mythological enthusiast. It’s a delicate balance between a multitude of different myths and that balance is actually the cornerstone of this comic. There’s a little bit of everything -- cyborg assassins, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, Greek gods and even the son of Cain. Some things are kept the same -- like vampires drink blood and don't sparkle -- and some things are changed -- like Cupid is a cynical midget. No, I mean, literally, Cupid is a midget. Surprising, right? If you're looking to read something different than the everyday mundane comic, the MYTHOI trade paperback would be a good thing to invest in. It covers the first six issues of a fantastic series. The moment I started reading, I was drawn in and the book demanded that I push on until I finished the entire thing in one sitting. The action scenes were drawn out every well, bursting with suspense and there was enough political intrigue to have a decent amount of mystery to make it interesting.
One of the great things about this series is its characters. There's five main characters to choose from and the timelines are split up equally so that each character gets roughly the same amount of time spent on him or her. If you don't like one character, you have the option of falling in love with one of the other four. There's multiple different side characters and villains as well. That's part of what I love about MYTHOI -- there's just so much packed into each comic; characters, emotions, plot, subterfuge, mythology, cynical jokes. Everyone can find something to enjoy.
Obviously if you're reading this, you have to be at least somewhat interested in at least one type of mythology. It's the base that MYTHOI is built on. Instead of limiting itself to just one field, this series dips into just about every belief out there. If it hasn't been depicted yet, it probably will show up eventually. One of my personal favorites were Aphrodite's sirens. Now granted, these sirens aren't in water or mermaids, but they still rely on their beauty to draw men in and then they pull a Mileena from Mortal Kombat. Ninness takes each mythology and tweaks it slightly to make it different, which to me is a definite plus.
If you're a myth geek, you've already read the stories. You already know what happens, so the slight changes brings a new spice to a older tale. Note the words I'm using are slight or tweak, not completely change. Thankfully the vampires aren't the ridiculous sparkling variety or anything. The most drastic change is probably Cupid's character. He looks more like a Dirty Harry midget with about the same amount of cynicism. Like I said, it's more of a fun twist on the tales.
Jed and Brian Soriano do a decent job with the artwork. Overall, it's pretty simple, with a few detailed panels thrown in for good measure. The action scenes were obviously where the art flourished since it had to tell the story without narration. It's a kind of cross between American cartoons and Japanese anime. Occasionally there are hintings of the pointed nose or slitted eyes, but for the most part, the men have broad shoulders and strong jawlines and the women are slender like they're supposed to be. I particularly like the way the brush strokes were done on the werewolves; it gives more of a realistic flow.
Overall, I'd easily recommend MYTHOI to anyone who likes a good story with a supernatural twist. Ninness has definitely packed a lot of creativity into this series and it's something you just don't see a lot of nowadays in comics. It's a refreshing vacation from the monotonous lot of mainstream superheroes and will slap you in the face with some real imagination that'll leave you wanting more.
Felicity Gustafson was born in Ohio and, after the astounding realization that there was more to do than look at trees and cows, she decided to become a nerd and got into comics, anime and video games. At Comics Bulletin, she sticks mostly to reviewing things out of the horror and comedy genres. She spends most of her time working in the manufacturing industry, finishing her computer degree and steadfastly avoiding ham fat at all costs.