The premiere article by, Kelly Irelan
The human consciousness is a strange, wonderful, boundless place. We have within ourselves the ability to fathom beings we cannot see, gods we cannot hear, and universes that invisibly exist on the same streets we walk every day of our lives. All of these concepts can lend themselves to the creation of fantastic literary fiction. The unknown ceaselessly drives the imagination, and similarly, the steam engine of the unrevealed drives “God Complex” into a fog of secrets and intrigue.
The plot catalyst is a conventional one that has been used since the birth of the modern story: there’s been a murder. Three, to be precise. Seneca, a forensics investigator, searches for answers in the washed out, grim city of Delphi. He turns to Hermes, a mysterious “Ruler” who works in cooperation with the police division, for guidance. These Rulers are powerful beings who appear to be half man and half machine, but more about this should be revealed as the series continues. The fallen victims are Trinity Acolytes, religious fanatics from a large church in Delphi. Hermes, who is capable of tapping into the “Stream” (a virtual landscape of information typically visible only to the Rulers), theorizes the deaths were only a diversion after noticing an unidentified presence attempting to tamper with the city’s security protocols. After a second data breach, this time witnessed by both Hermes and Seneca, we’re given insight into Seneca’s past and how it has turned him into a man adrift without true purpose. Meanwhile, the police at Argus Heights confirm Hermes’ suspicions: The Church of The Trinity is linked to the attack on the security grid. Ultimately, a discussion is had between Seneca and Hermes concerning one of the more curious aspects of issue #1, which will be discussed in due time. We conclude with an unexpected meeting as Hermes introduces Seneca to the famed Apollo, another shadowy Ruler.
Paul Jenkins does something exceedingly clever with his lead protagonist. He calmly questions the sanity of his hero without drawing too much attention. One of the first things that stirred my interest right from the opening page was the presence of an invisible narrator. Initially, I thought Seneca was having an internal conversation with himself like most people tend to do. This other voice was making a strong impression, though. It seemed to be verbally abusing Seneca to an extent with a mood that was far from cheery. Jenkins has crafted this dark shadow behind the metaphorical curtain, and I hope we are given the opportunity to meet it because this voice certainly has a lot to say. With that being acknowledged, Jenkins’ writing sets the perfect atmosphere for the gritty cityscape of Delphi. It is the dwelling of gods who don’t necessarily make the world better, but who wield unimaginable power. There are those above and those below, and those below live according to the narrative the Rulers weave on their behalf. This book is an incredibly smart addition to Image’s lineup, and Paul Jenkins is a trustworthy captain at the helm, though he may be sailing us through some brilliantly murky
waters. We’ve only scratched the surface and I look forward to more.
Hendry Prasetya is a master when it comes to the tone and look of this book. You can picture Delphi as a futuristic Gotham City driven heavily by the many wonders and downfalls of technology. Perhaps it was the dark, stormy night, or the bodies piling up in the street, but that’s where my brain immediately took me. Prasetya’s work hinges on realism, and Delphi exists as a stark contrast to the Stream. Ironically enough, this virtual reality is the most visually vibrant of the story. Second place has to be claimed by the enigmatic Rulers. They are aesthetically a cut about the rest in both their dress and stature. Prasetya clearly wanted the viewer to be incapable of ignoring these gods among men, and he accomplished his mission with flying colors. Seneca, however, draws the eye for entirely different reasons. His is an ever-present quiet despair that is expertly maintained through almost every expression. The only instance where it completely lifts is when Seneca is first exposed to the Stream, which I think was a pointed and conscious decision by Prasetya. This book is full of smart choices delivered to readers by the hands of innovative people.
If you’re considering dipping your toes in “God Complex,” but find yourself unsure, don’t be. Each issue leaves you with plenty to be excited about. It is something far more than your standard crime show. “God Complex” will broach questions regarding solitude, connectivity, philosophy, and technology’s effect on the world. It is a tale of gods and men coexisting in the muck, trying to find some semblance of the light. Jenkins and Prasetya give a powerful start to this run, and I believe I’ll be following them to the finish line.
Buy this series here.
Buy this series here.