25th Nov2019

‘Olympia #1’ Review (Image Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Curt Pires | Art by Alex Diotto | Published by Image Comics

olympia-1-cover

Every comic book at its heart has an element of wish fulfillment. Comics evolved as entertainment for kids, and the sidekick trope was created to give those kids someone to identify with alongside their favourite hero. If you were like me, however, you wanted to be the real thing. We read these adventures because I guess ultimately we see a better version of ourselves. What would I do if I could fly? had super strength? could time travel? As long as comics exist, so will that wish fulfillment. That is also where writer Curt Pires, and co-plotter Tony Pires, have taken their inspiration. What if…

We start in New Olympus, where our hero Olympian’s fortress has been breached by villain Vilayne and his forces, searching for the Everflow. This is clearly, and affectionately, a riff on Asgard, Thor and Loki, and done in a very Silver Age Marvel style too. Just as we prepare to dive in..we don’t. It’s a comic in a comic. A comic being read by a boy, cursing that thirty days wait until the next issue which will resolve that cliffhanger. We’ve all been there. Actually, he won’t have to wait thirty days after all to meet Olympian, as a certain fictional superhero has just hurtled down to Earth and lies unconscious at the boys feet. Stan Lee never quite managed that.

So, what the heck is going on here? The boy is called Elon, and I don’t think he’s imagining this. Olympian is in a bad way, and mumbles something about alternate time and place, and that someone is coming. Think that’s bad? Not as bad as Elon being out at night when he shouldn’t be, and a race against time to get home before Mum gets back from work. He does it, just, after promising to return the following day, probably to see if Olympian really does exist. Elon goes to school the next day, which has a whole Peter Parker vibe as he’s the class geek who gets picked on by his own version of Flash Thomson, and finally makes his way back to the woods. Yep, Olympian is still there, unconscious. Elon gives him various drugs he found in his Mum’s medicine cabinet and waits. And waits. Nothing. He falls asleep.

Olympian has woken up, thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, and we get a little of the classic odd couple/ culture clash thing going on. Yes, Olympian is real. Yes, he is a God. Yes, he talks a little like Thor. Yes, he does need to get back to New Olympus. Unfortunately, he’s not yet strong enough, his ability to open a portal affected. That’s not good for two reasons. Firstly, he thinks Earth a ‘dungheap’, so clearly doesn’t want to hang around long. Secondly, another portal has opened spewing out dozens of demonic looking creatures. I say thee nay…or something like that. Still, Olympian is too much for them to handle and the danger is over. Only it’s not really, as they were the distraction, in true dastardly fashion. Vilayne is now on Earth, having tracked Olympian down. Elon might enjoy meeting his favourite hero, but probably not so much the worst villain. We’ll find out next issue.

This was a great read, very refreshing in the sense that what was old is new again. It had a lovely affectionate Silver Age look and feel, self-deprecating humour, and nicely balanced the fine line between homage and parody. There is still a lot of flesh to put on the bones here, especially of the characters, and the writing has to be careful that homage doesn’t just come off as a little bit derivative. For me, though, the balance was just right this time round, and I hope that continues. The artwork by Alex Diotto was perfect for the story, very simple Silver Age panels and lines, but with occasional modern flourishes. A little dash of Kirby in there at times, in terms of composition rather than art style though.

It’s nice to get a feel good comic now and then, one not tied to film promotion, or multi title crossovers, or where a strict status quo has to be observed. This can go anywhere, and that’s part of the fun.

And Olympia, most definitely, is a whole lot of Silver /Modern Age blended fun.

**** 4/5

Olympia #1 is out now from image Comics.

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