By Nolan P. Smith
(Victor Valley)– This title has to be the most anticipated comic release of 2017 for me. American Gods is easily my favorite novel, and with the STARZ TV series almost here, Dark Horse has brought the world of American Gods to the comic book world. With this debut issue, the world gets introduced to the colorful characters and gods that lead us down an epic, Rated-R tale.
Based off the story by Neil Gaiman, with scripting by P. Craig Russell and art by Scott Hampton, this issue is a pretty straightforward adaptation of the novel. We meet Shadow Moon, soft-spoken big man doing time in a prison with some unsavory characters. Shadow is due to be released soon, and is excited to be reunited with his wife, Laura. But everything goes crazy when his wife dies in a tragic accident. This sends Shadow on a plane home, now set to be bury his wife and figure out how to start life anew. But on the plane ride, he meets an usual man named Wednesday, which sets Shadow’s life down a very different and bizarre path.
The artwork finally gives us a visual of the characters, and I must say, Shadow and Wednesday look very different than I imagined, and very different from their STARZ counterparts. The artwork is clean and simple, and a great fit for the story. My major gripe would be the backstory, based off of the Coming to America shorts, which took place after each chapter in the novel. The story is one that ties the old gods to the modern world, but does so in a very mature content way. I didn’t enjoy the back stories in the novel, and sadly, same goes to the comic book counterpart.
I feel that by including the mature rated backstory, it will stop the American Gods comic series from crossing over to teens. The main story was great, and felt very true to the source material. That might seem like a negative to some, but I feel that having the story portrayed almost beat for beat in sequential art form is absolutely the way to go. American Gods is one of the great modern tales of our time, and the comic book version aims to hook a whole new generation of mature readers.
Nolan Smith is a longtime reporter with High Desert Daily, covering everything from the opening of a new comic book shop to a series on the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. A long time resident of the Victor Valley, Smith has worked in the educational sector in the High Desert for the past decade. He is also the Editor and Co-Founder of Pastrami Nation- a pop culture news site which features news, reviews and podcasts on various aspects of pop culture, including comic books, video games, films, anime, manga, cosplay and more. You can visit Pastrami Nation at www.pastramination.com.