Athena #1

by Doug Zawisza, Reviewer |

Sun, September 20th, 2009 at 9:03PM (PDT)


With the popularity of the Rick Riordan "Percy Jackson" novels as well as the resurgence in Marvel's interpretation of "Hercules," there's never been a better time to be a Greek god, except for maybe when you had millions of worshippers. Taking a step away from the licensed titles that have done them so well, Dynamite hits the public domain, seeking to beat all other publishers to the right to publish a title bearing the name of the Greek goddess of wisdom.

The book shares a brilliant re-telling of Athena's mythological origin lushly illustrated by Paul Renaud and interspersed with adventures of the goddess in modern times. Problem is that Athena Olympios, as she calls herself in modern-day New York, has no clue that she is really the fallen goddess Athena. This makes for a seemingly new take on an older concept, with scads of potential. The build-up to the last page cliffhanger seems a little hurried, but with comics nowadays it is critical to hook the readers early, so I can't fault Murray too much there.

The art on this book is solid. As previously mentioned, Renaud's segments are engaging and have me hoping that this wasn't a one-off to set up the character and her background. I would love to see more of Renaud's stuff in future issues. Neves art is well-suited for the gritty world of a New York police detective. Neves' work is edgier than Renaud's, but his part of this first issue plays up the character's sexuality, humanity, and apparent mortality. I hope both artists are able to stay on and allow each other to commit their best work to this series.

Taking a risk in today's comic market by offering up a title featuring a female lead, "Athena" is able to offer readers a different take on a female warrior with a title that not only develops the character for the future, but also celebrates her past. While this comic may not be directly comparable to "Wonder Woman," it will be interesting to keep an eye on both titles and see if one influences the other in any way.