What if Man didn't fall from grace as the result of a taste of the forbidden fruit of The Tree of Knowledge? What if the Archangel Michael fell because he learned what free will was like instead of Lucifer? Writer Siike Donnelly and artist Eric Ninaltowski want to tell us with their new series for OSSM Comics, MonoMyth.
I've always found fiction inspired by or based on the Judeo-Christian myths to be some of the most interesting literature of all time. John Milton's Paradise Lost being the consummate work on the Eden/Fortunate Fall subject. While MonoMyth #1 doesn't exactly qualify as high art, it does qualify as an interesting concept, as well as a smart introduction to Donnelly's concept. There is no sin in Eden, but there is violence, and there is knowledge of evil. How Donnelly gets around the fact that the existence of violence and knowledge of evil is Miltonic though. The characters in MonoMyth #1 have knowledge of the evil angel Michael's existence (and therefore of evil itself), but they do not explicitly know what sin is since they have never sinned against one another. Enter Enoch, the story's main protagonist, and future Metatron. If any one is capable of falling into sin in this version of Eden it appears that Enoch would be the one, but even though he strikes one of his fellow contestants in a reality show like competition, he makes amends with his rival, and still can access his inner light. It appears there are great things ahead for Enoch, and his story...
...but, the reality show-like competition, which takes up the majority of the action of issue #1 drags down the narrative flow of MonoMyth #1, which up until this point, was humming along brilliantly. It is little more than a re-hash of all the teen competition themes that we've been force fed for years now in popular culture. MonoMyth #1 as "Hunger Games in Eden" isn't a fair assessment, but it's dangerously close to one. The issue's final events demonstrate that the narrative is going to go in another direction pretty quickly, and the future prospects for MonoMyth, in the long run, are better for it.
Artist Eric Ninaltowski brings Donnelly's unique story to brilliant and vibrant life. smart action choreography, Jim Lee-like pencil work (as far as anatomy is concerned), and an excellent attention to detail (especially the angels' armor designs) permeate his work here. The only minor quibble with his artwork that is even possible to consider is his tendency to lose the attention to detail that make his up close action panels pop so vibrantly when he creates wide angle shots at a distance. It's a minor, but definitely noticeable quibble.
Overall, MonoMyth is a fantastic offering from a smaller publisher that will appeal to anyone interested in dark fantasy with strong characterization. Notwithstanding the lengthy competition segment in the middle of the book, MonoMyth #1 is a smart work that is visually and esthetically pleasing. OSSM Comics, Donnelly, and Ninaltowski definitely have a potentially large hit on their hands here.