Ares & Aphrodite #3 sees Will and GiGi making a trip up the California coast. Their physical journey mirrors the emotional arch of this issue.
Previously in Ares & Aphrodite #2: Will and GiGi made a bet.
UP UP UP WE GO
Jamie S. Rich starts Ares & Aphrodite #3 off on GiGi’s turf with Will paying her a visit that is very much more work than pleasure. The catalyst for the action happens quickly – the bride doesn’t show up and a wedding can’t very well get underway when one of the two main parties is lacking. Rather than give up on the whole thing (and have GiGi win the bet made in the previous issue by default), Will and GiGi’s combined workaholic nature turns them both into real world heroes.
Ares & Aphrodite #3 is all about a road trip!
A forgotten iPhone is the most topical device writer Rich has employed to get Will and GiGi alone together in Ares & Aphrodite #3. They chase their bride up the California coast from Los Angeles in Will’s slick sports car – that’s right, the one we’ve seen vandalized twice in as many issues – this also conveniently allows the protagonists to have nobody else to talk to and Rich takes this opportunity to uncover the grey areas where their feelings about love and romance truly lie. The scene is simple and there are no minced words, Rich does an excellent job at dispersing information across the panels and hurtling Will and GiGi toward the more upbeat story points.
Following some revelations about just how sneaky their runaway bride can be, Will and GiGi wind up spending the remainder of Ares & Aphrodite #3 alone in a beautiful resort in Big Sur (which is beautiful – have I stressed enough that beauty in rampant?), going on the date that was only supposed to happen if Will won their bet. Now, this may seem a touch contrived, but Will and GiGi are so likeable and their banter reads with such speed that I wanted them together as much as possible throughout the entire issue.
When expensive wine is added into the equation of Ares & Aphrodite #3 Rich treats readers to some revelations about our protagonists. GiGi leads the soul-bearing session and thankfully strays away from the clichéd sentiment that readers may have come to expect from the romantic comedy genre. Will can certainly match her in his storied history and the resulting lack of confidence and that makes for some slightly more verbose banter than the earlier scene.
Remember in my review of Ares & Aphrodite #2 when I said “Will must suffer”? The events of Ares & Aphrodite #3 make Will suffer, but it I so thoroughly wrapped up in his nice guy charm that the chivalric adversity is funny more than anything else. This is poised to continue in coming issues and will hopefully make whatever victory comes Will’s way all the more sweet.
I can’t wait to see how GiGi and Will dealing with the aftermath of Ares & Aphrodite #3 as they return to the real world, Rich has me hooked.
It’s probably been overused in this review already, but Ares & Aphrodite #3 is sweetly stunning. Megan Levens continues to produce lovely characters with small detail to distinguish across gender lines. Everybody on the panel is a delight to look at.
Big Sur is just as integral a character in Ares & Aphrodite #3 as Will or GiGi. Like the boroughs of Los Angeles in previous issues, Big Sur and the highway that snakes along the Pacific Ocean provide the perfect backdrop for Rich’s narrative work. The churning waves and sheer startling cliff sides infuse the issue with a wealth of natural beauty, partnering nicely with the charming characters that inhabit the world.
Levens proves that she can handle the light and the dark throughout Ares & Aphrodite #3 with the scenes taking place across the span of an entire day. In the nighttime scenes the details left in colour are often telling – GiGi’s blush, Will carrying an entire bottle of wine along for the ride – and in the light our protagonists are exposed to each other with nowhere to hide. This nicely mirrors the growing intimacy of their conversations.
Ares & Aphrodite #3 is smartly and skillfully drawn by Levens and she is fortunate to have sometimes entire pages to show off on.
THE BOTTOM LINE: GETTING REALLY GOOD
Ares & Aphrodite #3 takes Will and GiGi and sets them outside of their comfort zones, away from their homes and their jobs which have so often defined them. The creative team takes this chance to teach readers about the protagonists and splash this reveal across a scenic backdrop. The issues promise to keep heating up from here!