By Philip Schweier
Nov 18, 2007 - 8:28
The premise behind Panthea Obscura is that the gods of old, for whatever reason, chose to "retire," but after millenia of being nearly forgotten, they have chosen to return to public life. An interesting idea explored before, but this time they have chosen to return as super-heroes – except for Troy, a demonic being seemingly intent on giving the old gods reason to be heroes.
Little develops in the course of the first issue, as characters are introduced. Some, such as Father Lightning, are easily identified as their mythic counterparts. This allows for a certain "archetypal shorthand," establishing the character's persona and relationship to others. However, others such as Clockmaker and the Deep aren't so easily identifiable, and for this reason I sometimes found the cast a bit awkward, and was unsure of some of the roles these characters might play. However, as the narrative develops, I found the idea of forgotten gods and failed heroes more interesting, as each character in one way or another is flawed in an un-god-like manner.
Unfortunately, the artwork by Juan Carlos Quattordio detracts from what might be an otherwise interesting story. Little variation in line quality and questionable anatomy reminded me of doodles one might find in the notebook of a talented high school artist. However, more complex aspects of drawing, such as perspective and facial expressions, are conveyed effectively. I also had a problem with the coloring, and far too much effort at airbrushing colors gave the art a "smeared" effect. Quattordio is off to a strong start, but still has a long way to go, and perhaps might benefit in greater understanding of anatomy, rendering and coloring in Photoshop.
With a mere introductory issue, there is little here to encourage me to read second issue, but as I have often said, judging an entire story based on a single chapter is unfair. But there is more than enough for me to maintain an open mind.