God of War is based on the hit Sony Playstation video game series by the same name and tells the tale of Kratos, Sparta’s mightiest warrior and his adventures before he became a servant of the gods. This God of War comic is a prequel to the franchise and, just like the games, is rated for mature readers. For those of you, who are yet to play God of War 3, fear not. This comic spoils none of the game.
Written by Marv Wolfman
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Letters by Saida Temofonte
Cover by Andy Park
Published by Wildstorm
Previously in God of War for Playstation 2, Kratos was called by the goddess Athena to do the impossible … kill Ares, the god of war. In exchange for accomplishing this task, the gods have promised to forgive Kratos for slaughtering his wife and daughter while deceived by Ares. With the help of the other gods, Kratos traveled across Athens to the Temple of Pandora which he mastered to win Pandora’s Box. Upon obtaining the box, Kratos was killed by Ares and sent to Tartarus. Kratos escaped back to Athens and reclaimed Pandora’s Box which gave him the power he needed to defeat the rampaging god of war. Upon Ares’ death, the gods forgave Kratos’ sins but could do nothing to wipe the nightmares from his mind. Kratos, desperate to end his suffering, flung himself off the tallest mountain in Greece. Upon hitting the water below, he found himself saved by the gods so that he could take Ares’ place as the new God of War.
The story starts off not too long after Kratos became the new god of war. He is traveling for some unknown reason to the Temple of Asclepius to find the legendary curative Ambrosia for what appears to be the second time in his life. Along his travels, he is attacked by a young hell beast and is reminded of his childhood and the harsh upbringing of Spartan life. Not only does he remember the hardships but also his conquests, such as Lysandra, his wife. With Lysandra, Kratos knew contentment for the first time and together they bore a daughter, Calliope. However, Calliope was born cursed with the plague and in Spartan tradition must be thrown into the deepest chasm of Mount Taygetos. Kratos would not stand to see his only daughter killed and set out to find the legendary Ambrosia to heal her.
Little did Kratos know that Ares had orchestrated his daughter’s disease in order to get him to seek out the Temple of Asclepius to participate in a wager of the gods. While Ares chose Kratos as his champion, Hades chose Alrik the Barbarian Prince. The other gods would not pick their champions yet but instead left Kratos and Alrik to meet on the battle field before showing their strategies. Kratos’ first stop on his journey was to a healer who warned him that he will not succeed in his quest. Kratos angrily demanded assistance and the healer gave him Apollo’s Flame which would guide him to Asclepius’ Well. Kratos started out on his long journey and was soon attacked by a fire beast that erupted from the ground. Meanwhile back in the present, the god of war easily defeated the young hell beast and kicked it into the darkness where it lay hovering in mid air. Upon examining the defeated monster, Kratos found that it had gotten caught in a giant web and disturbed a monstrous spider. Can Kratos overcome the giant insect? We’ll have to wait for issue 2 to find out.
I have been a fan of the God of War video games since the first time I played them. Going into this comic, I had my standards set pretty high for what I expected a decent God of War comic to be. After having read the story, I found myself very satisfied with the result. Marv Wolfman was able to perfectly capture the voice and tone of the story that Andy Ashcraft and Marianne Krawczyk had started on the Playstation. It really feels as if I were reading a script to one of the games. While reading it, I could hear the voice of Terrence Carson (Kratos’ voice actor) echoing through my head. While the story does remind you of other great tales such as 300, it also stands out as its own unique adventure and doesn’t feel like it’s copying them. Introducing the Ambrosia as key element peaked my interest from the start. I’m familiar with it’s legend and was worried that perhaps they would have to recycle ideas because the God of War games cover so much of ancient Greek culture already.
The art is best described as interesting. I’m torn on whether I like it for its earthy and realistic style or whether I dislike the dark and shadowy details. For most of the story, Kratos’ face is nothing but a dark shadow which prevents me from reading any emotions he may be showing. However because of this, it leaves room for my minds eye to fill in the gaps and create and almost life like performance in my head. One of the other benefits to this darkened art style is that when they do introduce light elements into the scene, it takes on a glorious shine such as Hades’ helmet or the fire beast (that looks like a phoenix to me). I also have to give credit to the letterer for assigning each god a different color trim to their text bubbles. It gives a feeling of an echoing ethereal voice rather than that of a normal man.
Over all, I have to say that I’m very excited for the next issue to come out. The art is slightly better in my mind than it appears on the page however the story is strong and so far lives up the franchises’ standard. I give this issue a 4 and a half star rating and am off to play the original game again.