It's a bad time to be an atheist. The gods have returned and they are none too happy with what humanity has done with the Earth. Zeus, Odin, Horus, Anubis, Bast, Quezalcoatl, Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Ares, Aphrodite...the rest "were too long to tell"...have all come back to meddle in the affairs of humanity. Odin summons them all together for a meeting, and it's a meeting that doesn't look like it will have anything good to do with man. As Odin states, "Honored Guests, the intrepid voyages to the realm of man have been mere scouting parties. This bitch is ripe and wet and spread open for us. Let's take her."
Okay, let me make one thing clear. Jonathan Hickman, in my humble opinion, is one of the best writers in comics right now. His stints on Fantastic Four, FF, and now on various Avenger titles were and are the stuff of contemporary comics storytelling greatness...but, (you knew there was a "but") he also has some other works out right now that are struggling under their own weight and seem to not really be going anywhere. Manhattan Projects has stalled after a great opening salvo of issues. East of West is chock full of ideas, but none of them have seemed to crystallize into anything concrete yet, and the third issue of Secret was just released. I can't even remember when issue #2 hit the stands. That's how late #3 was. Now, with God is Dead, Hickman launches yet another project that has a dubious premise, to say the least, and doesn't seem to pack nearly the punch that he earlier works did in the edginess and intelligence department. Oh, and what ever happened to S.H.I.E.L.D. anyway?
Hickman may yet surprise me and end up delivering something worthwhile here, but any book that refers to God being dead, yet has tons of gods running around in it...and thus far no hint of the Christian God(s) to be seen (the Christian God was to whom Nietzsche was referring to philosophically) comes across as a haphazardly thrown together concoction of some weak and rather trite ideas. Perhaps Hickman's point is that GOD, in a western sense, (as in Yahweh or Christ) is really dead and the old gods are running around? Maybe he's aiming at some kind of absurdist theatre type of thing? I don't know know, and at this point I'm not sure I'm going to stick around long enough to find out.
The one saving grace in God Is Dead #1 is Di Amorim's artwork. It is wonderfully detailed and powerfully kinetic. Amorim's portrayals of the ancient gods is sharp, pretty authentic to how they've been traditionally displayed in ancient artwork, but imaginative enough to appear as something new to the eyes. I do have to wonder though if the "imaginative" aspects are just Amorim filling in the blanks due to lack of serious research into just how these gods really were displayed in ancient art. Some of their garb seems hastily conceived, much like the plot.
Hickman has given me (and many others) many, many hours of highly fulfilling stories to read over the years in the many, many titles and issues he's written. I just am not convinced that God Is Dead is going to be another one of these type of books from Hickman. Hopefully, issue #2 will prove me wrong.