Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

07 May 2008

Ares: God of War

Collects: Ares #1-5 (2006)

Released: October 2006 (Marvel)

Format: 128 pages / color / $13.99 / ISBN: 0785123334

I’m used to Michael Avon Oeming’s work as the artist for Powers, but I’d never read anything he’d written before Ares: God of War. The results here are not so impressive as his art.

With the Asgardians being killed in the pages of Thor, the Olympians are next under fire. But Ares, one of their greatest warriors, has given up his war gig to be a single father in Los Angeles. Then, in a plot that strongly recalls the oft-mocked Kitty Pryde and Wolverine limited series, Ares’s son Alex is kidnapped — first by the Olympians to force Ares to fight for them, then by the forces of an undead Japanese army.

Ares: God of War cover After that, a whole lot of fighting, a whole lot of arguing between Ares and Hercules, and more than few scenes of Alexander being seduced away from his family by Mikabushi, the Japanese god of Evil. The series drags on in the middle and could have stood to be shortened by an issue. The method used to justify the conclusion is barely tolerable, a loose plotline that didn’t get enough play earlier in the story.

The best part of the book is Ares’s relationship with his son and with the real world. Ares can just fit in, and although his relationship with his son is unorthodox, it’s still a loving relationship. Unfortunately, all that goes away when Alex is kidnapped, which hands us over to four unrelenting issues of carnage.

Travel Foreman provides the art. He draws a lot of double-paged spreads of battle scenes, which, while difficult to do, are often more impressionistic5 in purpose than realistic — e.g., he’s trying to get across the violence and chaos without showing one side or another winning. Other than recognizably drawing a few Greeks, it’s not necessary to be precise. I find the spreads a little dull, and the two-page art frequently requires full-page fuller art to make sure the two pages face one another.

This is most likely of interest to fans of Hercules and Marvel’s Greek pantheon, especially since those rumors of Ares as a member of the Avengers have seemed to come to naught.

Rating: Marvel logo Marvel logo 2 of 5

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