Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Zeus King of the Gods

For the next seven days, I will be posting reviews of graphic novels I've read so far. This is in congruence to the celebration of Teen Read Week. This year's theme is Reading for the FUN of it: Picture It @ your library. In the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) website, you would find support materials, neat ideas and promotional resources in celebrating Teen Read Week in your library.

So here's the blog's first graphic novel review. One down, seven more to go!

The Olympians: Zeus King of the Gods by George O'Connor

I was in fifth grade when I read about the creation of the world according to the Greeks. It was a strange story. My context was too limited to fully appreciate Gaea's love for her children and Chronus' abominable hate for his off springs. Then came Edith Hamilton in freshman college. Everything changed from there. Visiting Greece is an item in my bucket list I wish to cross out soon. For the meantime, I just have to satisfy myself with reading and viewing anything Greek in books, travelogues and documentaries.

Recently, I came upon George O'Connor's graphic novel, The Olympians: Zeus King of the Gods. The cover design is fierce. The image of a young Zeus holding his thunder amidst Titans and Cylopses promises an exciting read.

And it was, indeed!

O'Connor's visual storytelling, mixing shadows, clouds and a lot of indigo at the start of the novel creates intrigue. Chronus is up to no good. Gaea has her own sneaky ways of dealing with things. No wonder, the Olympians are complicated creatures. The Titans, Cyclopses and monsters seem to represent the natural catastrophes that beset the natural order of the universe. His illustrations at the opening pages suggest more than the story between Gaea and Chronus but the very process in which the physical world changes and continues to evolve.

Then came Zeus who looks, walks and talks very much like any mortal. He looks every inch a man, yet powerful and cunning. With his siblings, they fought and defeated Chronus, the evil father who took control of time and space. I like this rendition. The early Olympians working together to claim their place in the universe is a fresh depiction of the soap operatic way they're presented in movies and TV shows.

I also enjoyed the part where Chronus spits out his off springs relegating each to a part of the world where the gods became master of that domain. Poseidon landing in the sea. Hades falling in the underworld. Demeter flying down to farm and field. Zeus catching Hera from the skies. It was attraction at first sight. But we who are familiar with the Greek myths know that Hera had a tough time taming the King of the Gods.

I'm giving the graphic novel four bookmarks over five. The illustrations are well thought of. It bridged my imagination to constructs of the real and the physical world. The narration and storytelling are done with enough drama, emotion, promises of wonderful stories left untold. I want to get a copy of the other titles in the series.
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