Ares and Aphrodite #2 keeps the plot moving along at a quick pace. GiGi and Will make a bet that seems destined to seal their romantic futures.
Previously in Ares and Aphrodite #1: Meet Will and GiGi. They work in opposite ends of marriage in the big city and have differing opinions on the validity and nature of love.
Jamie S. Rich has his plot coming along at a clip in Ares and Aphrodite #2 and it makes for fun reading. Will and GiGi visit the home of their newlywed clients in order to ensure that their respective businesses aren’t about to fall apart and wind up making a bet that is predicated on one of them losing a lot of money. Since issue one Will has had his eyes on GiGi and Rich has written Will well enough that he comes across as a sincerely genuine guy – even if he is a divorce lawyer living and working in Los Angeles. For her part, GiGi is utterly uninterested in the fanciful notions of love and soul mates and fate – even if she runs an upscale bridal boutique.
Enter the wager: if their clients’ wedding plans fall apart then GiGi gets to build up Will’s online dating profile and pick three dates for him to go on. If the wedding goes off without a hitch then GiGi and Will go out on a date.
I’ll admit, that he inciting incident of Ares and Aphrodite #2 and the wager, such as it falls out, aren’t the most inventive storytelling in the genre of the romantic comedy. The thing that sets Rich’s narrative aside as the fun and vibrant issue that it is is his dialogue. GiGi and Will fire quips at each other in the speed and style of Howard Hawks’ movies (think Bringing Up Baby), with GiGi almost always getting the last and best word in edgewise. It’s more fun to read what the protagonists are saying to each other than to examine the circumstances surrounding them.
Whereas the first issue focused pretty heavily on Will and his circumstances, Ares and Aphrodite #2 lingers on GiGi and readers are treated to a look at her insecurities as she enters into the aforementioned wager with Mr. Ares. Rich almost certainly has planted this seed of doubt as a catalyst for GiGi to change her mind in coming issues and even though readers can feel the character being steered that way it’s done well enough that we don’t mind.
Will does get his moment in Ares and Aphrodite #2 and like Miles O’Brien in Deep Space Nine, Will Ares must suffer. Having chaperoned his client onto a studio lot Will is treated to having his car vandalized for the second time in as many issues as a result of his career path – not leaving out, of course, the verbal abuse he suffers at the hands of Loren Lenox a reporter for a Hollywood gossip rag and former client of his. In this Rich is setting up Will for a well-deserved win down the line and I am looking forward to reading it.
Much like issue one, Ares and Aphrodite #2 is a quick read, it’s sweet and being well-handled by the writer. The issue is super cute.
Megan Levens is telling us things with her art choices in Ares and Aphrodite #2! For example: when we see GiGi’s car it is a red Volkwagen beetle a.k.a. a love bug. Perhaps she’s not the hardened non-romantic that she makes herself out to be after all.
Ares and Aphrodite #2 also features the palatial Hollywood Hills estate of Will and GiGi’s shared clients and provide Levens a chance to show off her skill in architectural drawing. Everything from the mansion that Evans owns to the Burbank studios he and Will take off to later in the issue are beautifully rendered on the page and look very much like edifices that would be seen in Los Angeles today.
Levens’ characters are, unsurprisingly, lovely. GiGi especially is rendered with a whimsical charm that I can’t quite put my finger on. She lights up the panels she inhabits. It’s pretty neat that, as a reader, you have the chance to see the leading lady through the eyes of the leading man.
Ares and Aphrodite #2 is just so, so pretty.
THE BOTTOM LINE: STILL SWEET
Ares and Aphrodite #2 was just as strong as the first issue. It moves quickly toward events that readers know are coming and is a fun ride as we are put through the paces of romantic comedy storytelling. Plus, it looks great.