In this week’s Marvel Rundown, the Beat’s Cy Beltran, George Carmona 3rd, and Rebecca Oliver Kaplan come together for a roundtable discussion of G.O.D.S. #1. This review includes MILD SPOILERS for the issue, so avoid this article if you want to go in completely blind.

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G.O.D.S. #1

Writer – Jonathan Hickman
Artist – Valerio Schiti
Color Artist – Marte Gracia
Letterer – VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Artist – Mateus Manhanini

Cy Beltran: I enjoyed this, though I couldn’t really tell you much of what was happening for the majority of the issue. It looked great and the dialogue was wicked fun, but I was very lost.

George Carmona 3rd: Same. I liked it but if you put a gun to my head and asked what it’s about, I’d be dead. 

Rebecca Oliver Kaplan: Third. I would have preferred to read it in two sittings so that I could digest it better. I was a little bored by the nine panel pacing in the beginning, but it definitely picked up back in the present. It felt like an attempt to mimic Bendis dialogue, but it didn’t work.

G.O.D.S. #1
The mysterious Library of Worlds…

Cy: I’ll second that on the panel pacing (and Bendis-speak). I was surprised by how wordy this was, even if I did think it was mostly fun. The six page sequence of nine-panel grids shocked me, as I can’t remember the last time a Marvel book had that many of those in a book. That’s more of a Distinguished Competition thing…

Ollie: I would say the last time a Marvel book had that was Alias.

GC3: I expected this to be a heavy read, Jonathan Hickman can’t do small stories. I did dig the sidekick as the comic relief. The dialogue was a bit much at points, I got John Constantine/Doctor Who vibes from the main character Wyn. And of course, Valerio Schiti’s art is a step above. 

Ollie: I did enjoy the art. At one point, I stopped and flipped through the art – always a good sign. The art saved those nine panel grids. There was some really interesting work with perspective.

Cy: Agreed, I love Schiti’s stuff, especially with Marte Gracia on colors. They’re such a great pairing together, and I’m a huge fan of when they’re allowed to cut loose on the page, something Hickman utilizes well. You bring up a great point on the perspective shifting, Ollie – so many of the panels have wacky angles to them, which really keeps the book moving during otherwise static scenes.

G.O.D.S. #1
Amazing use of perspective here

GC3: Reading it on a tablet makes Gracia’s colors pop, which fits well with this weird sci-fantasy hybrid. I love the design aesthetic of the characters and settings, the redesign on the Collector was a fun spin on his usual look, and I wanted more of the Library of Worlds.

Ollie: LOL, I think it’s because the “NOW” interlude page is open on my computer as we talk, but I’m noticing how the simple design also helps Gracia’s colors pop. So shout out to the graphic design team!

Cy: Oh yeah, great job to VC’s Travis Lanham and Jay Bowen, this has some great looking interstitial pages and some truly solid lettering – speaking of, how did we feel about the use of mixed-case lettering? I know it’s something Hickman loves to use, especially in his data pages (which I was honestly surprised not to see here).

GC3: The lettering design work fit for this wacky underworld of the Marvel Universe. And I’m sure the internet will find a translation key for all the magic used in the issue. Do we think this might be a hard read for fans with not a lot of Marvel Magic knowledge?

Cy: Not sure. It definitely felt way less ‘traditional superheroes’ to me, but that didn’t necessarily stop me from enjoying it. I feel like it’s still very readable without any understanding of Marvel Magic, but there was stuff I was missing that I wonder might have been cleared up with a better understanding of that side.

G.O.D.S. #1

GC3: Fair, I’m thinking more of the cross-pollination as Wyn hops across spacetime, will a casual reader understand who some of the beings are? This is a heavy nerdgasm of easter eggs. 

Ollie: It was kinda confusing, even I was lost. But I did notice the Elders stuff, and I guess the dream stuff could be tied to pre-existing Marvel Magic. Predictably, I don’t like the Staff of the Living Tribunal, which can write a spell and rewrite reality in a continuum. I can already see the storyline where that’s used against Wanda.

GC3: Readers should buckle up, Hickman only does epic, widescreen multi-tiered books.

Cy: I know we’re only on the first issue (and a giant one at that), but I might’ve preferred this to have been released a la Fire Power, where the entire first arc was released in one trade. We got a whole story introducing us to that world without all of the questions that might be raised during a more traditional release cycle. I know Marvel operates a bit differently, but it might’ve made this a mite less confusing. 

GC3: I think the biggest problem I have is the Constantine feel of Wyn. He doesn’t wear a regular trenchcoat but he “moves” like John, minus the smokes.  

G.O.D.S. #1
Who the hell is this guy

Ollie: I hate to bring up Angel, but it also felt like Angel.

Cy: Fair point, though I can’t say I’ve ever seen Angel. I do get the vibe I think you’re both talking about – there’s some familiar smarminess that comes with this ‘Avatar of The-Powers-That-Be’ that I feel like we see from a lot of Marvel heroes/Hickman characters. To go back right up to what George said at the top, I did enjoy Dmitri the sidekick, along with what we saw of Aiko, Wyn’s opposite as a Centivar of The-Natural-Order-Of-Things (who I believe is getting the spotlight next issue).

GC3: I thought they were new aspects of the Lords of Order and Masters of Chaos. Is the In-Betweener still a thing? Dimitri’s “tricorder” was my favorite tool so far. 

Ollie: George, of course, you love the Star Trek-inspired tech. Also, re: the In-Betweener, the Collector mentioned bringing in the other Elders of the Universe, and Adam Warlock just came back in the movies, so I feel like it’s time for a revival.

G.O.D.S. #1

GC3: With Hickman you know you’re going to get a sweeping epic of a story, so when getting this book readers should be prepared to invest in this new endeavor, which isn’t a bad thing for fans who like Babylon 5 or House of the Dragon, big ideas and fully developed characters. It doesn’t hurt when you have visual storytellers like Schiti and Gracia backing him up. This isn’t a book for a casual reader, but a solid start if you’re willing to wait for the payoff. I’m a sucker for big ideas: Buy/Strong Browse.

Cy: This was an interesting opening gambit, and one that I wasn’t really wasn’t expecting (though I don’t really know what I was expecting). There’s a lot of interesting material here, but it’s a bit hard to get into, even as someone who reads pretty much anything Marvel will put out. I agree that a casual fan would not have an easy time reading this, especially with the lack of context for pretty much anything. Even the few appearances of Marvel regulars, such as Doctor Strange and other members of the Illuminati, don’t do much to make this any easier. For me, this is a for sure Buy just based off of my own curiosity, but if I’m recommending it to anyone, I would advocate for a Strong Browse or to wait for the trade, when we know more of what’s happening.

Ollie: I wanted a different book. Since this was branded as introducing a new roster, I was hoping it would be easy to jump into for new readers. It wasn’t; this is a book for Marvel fans. I think there might be an interesting story unfolding, but I don’t know if I have the patience to read it as a single issue title. My advice: wait for the trade. However, I will give it a Strong Browse because of the art and some of Lanham’s career-best lettering.

Catch up on past entries in The Beat’s Marvel Rundown archive.