Dark Gods is the newest title from Avatar Press, by horror phenoms Justin Jordan and German Erramouspe. Can humanity survive the return of horrible entities that existed in a time before creation? Ehhh, doubtful.
DARK GODS #1
Story: Justin Jordan
Artwork: German Erramouspe, Michael DiPascale, German Nobile
Regular Cover: Christian Zanier
Erramouspe interior color, cover colors: Digikore Studioes
Letters: Kurt Hathaway
Managing Editor: Jim Kuhoric
Publisher: Avatar Press
THIS DOES SEEM LIKE A SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEME
In Dark Gods #1, Josh Resnick is having a bad day. He thinks his social media company is running strange behavioral experiments, so he’s been leaking information to the government (not that they’d care, see: Facebook). But he finds out it’s much worse than unethical testing, when it turns out his company is actually a front for a cult devoted to primordial entities from beyond space and time, who celebrate their quarterly earnings with a bit of human sacrifice and cannibalism. The revelation of Resnick’s company’s malfeasance may be the narrative highpoint of the issue, but Resnick and his company are drawn rather thin. Justin Jordan tells a story of the primordial stuff of chaos hating creation, affecting human minds through fear and superstition throughout all of history. Some choose to serve these forces and some choose to fight them with reason and science, seemingly.This is an interesting idea, but the creeping dread that should be associated with these realizations are hamstrung by the fact that not much actually happens in the issue. Resnick downloads some data, finds out his employers are evil beings and then runs from some former coworkers-turned-cat-thingie into an elevator. While I enjoyed the backstory of the world, there’s almost nothing to describe Resnick in this issue.
ONE HECKUVA MONSTER
The thing that first interested me about Dark Gods was the incredible German Erramouspe cover featuring a horrifying deity that was a mish-mash of most every awful marine predator possible, with a few dragon heads thrown in for good measure. That inventiveness was lacking in much of the interior. When Erramouspe is cataloguing the historical bits, he draws in different styles, and the art is at its best. But all the modern sequences seem tame by comparison. His human figures are emotive, but generic. What disappoints is that the monsters in the modern day either look like Baraka from Mortal Kombat or some sort of ripped up cat people. These transformations need to carry the same weight as the mind-bending old gods depicted in the history scenes, and they just do not compare. The same problem exists in both the art and the story. I am invested in the background and the tales of these chaos gods, but all the modern day stuff left me cold.
BOTTOM LINE: ANCIENT SECRETS, AMBIVALENT BEGINNING
Dark Gods #1 is a good introductory issue in how it lays out its central conflict, and presents some intriguing ideas. It’s less successful in introducing an interesting cast or putting in a good central hook. I’m in for a few issues, for the flashes of brilliance shown in this issue, but the central, modern-day story needs to improve rapidly for me to stick around. The title and cover art promises this grand epic of gods and apocalypse, but then the protagonist is so conventional and the plot so slight, Dark Gods read like a let-down. If the scope expands, or some flesh is hung on ol’ Josh Resnick’s bones, Dark Gods has an interesting enough idea at the core to be a good book. Right now, it’s not there.