Seraph’s Sanctions: Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess # 1

Writer: Steve Bryant
Art: Steve Bryant
Colors: Jim Nelson & Drew Browne
Letterer: Steve Bryant
Publisher: ACTION LAB ENTERTAINMENT

The Breakdown:

We open with Athena in another adventure with long time ally, Desmond Forsyth, as they are hanging in a trap set by a group of pirates that end up summoning a garuda. Yet, that adventure has her boss questioning the intentions of Agent Forsyth. After that, Athena gets to attend the premiere of a movie based on her and her adventures. She meets an actor of the movie, Carter Charles. The two get dragged into a new adventure thanks to Athena’s father where they must stop Nazi’s from releasing a race of super beings.

The Bad:

Nothing.

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Moment of the Book:

Athena taking out the Garuda quite … inventively.

The Good:

Bryant sizzles with this first issue. There’s so much going for it that it. First, Bryant’s writing is exquisite. He keeps the writing simple enough for readers to follow, but intricate enough to no only convey the feelings and personalities of the characters, but give you an overall feel of the tone of the story without exposition. Bryant deals with plots A and B, then weaves a plot C together seamlessly. Even starts bringing together multiple plots towards the end of the book, solidifying an excellent cliffhanger. On top of that, Bryant carefully and lovingly jams the book with a lot but never makes the book feel too short or too long. The pacing is perfect. Bryant clearly knows that this book could be the first Athena Voltaire book someone reads and writes accordingly. The dialogue is sharp. Athena is presented as a smart, sharp and inventive heroine that stands on her own, despite obvious men wanting to influence her in one way or another. She’s not a fool and she thinks on her feet, which makes her appealing. Bryant does give most of the characters enough time to make an impact or display their personality. And while there are quite a few characters, it didn’t feel overcrowded.

Bryant’s art is superb. Bryant’s clean line work goes in and brings to life pulp comics of yesteryear with a modern flare. Bryant gives enough detail to let every character and background breathe and feel alive while also not over-detailing the panels with clutter. The art is very simple and clean, but powerful with expression yet gentle. There’s a certain level of …I guess “quiet hype” that I enjoy about reading the book. There are clear cinematic elements and comic book elements that Bryant also mixes when creating panels, but pulls them off well. Nelson & Browne shine with colors that fit the tone of a panel and the overall look of the book. The shadows aren’t overly rich, but they are there at just the right places. The colors erupt Bryant’s work to make the panels stand notices, but are not overly loud unless they mean to be.

 

The Verdict:

Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess #1 presents our heroine the way she should be, strong and taking action. She is assertive in situations and definitely isn’t a damsel in distress. Bryant presents all this brilliantly, making new readers feel comfortable meeting her the first time while also letting long time readers feel the familiarity of the pulp heroine. The overall story is intrigue with some loose ends that are hinted at getting tied up as the story goes along. It’s a strong first issue that jumps out the gate right away, gives readers a breathe to know more of Athena then goes right back up and Bryant pulls this off extremely well. His art alongside the colors of Nelson and Browne suit Bryant’s style and tone of book. They bring out of the best of each others work here and I can’t wait for more.  A near- perfect first issue.