By Oliver Gerlach
Blood of Gods #1, by Erick Dominguez and Jake Bilbao, is a big loud fantasy comic about a world where demigods (or, in this case, “divine breed”) walk the earth and have magical powers. It’s got swords and dragons and large muscular bearded men who yell a lot. So far, so generic fantasy.
The comic opens with a lengthy recap page, introducing the world and characters. It’s so long and detailed that it makes this feel like part two of a series, even though it seems to be Dominguez’ debut. Barely any of this infodump is necessary, though, as it’s all tropey enough to be easily picked up from the comic itself. While I understand the temptation to show off the worldbuilding that’s taken so much time and effort, it really isn’t reader friendly at all; especially when most of the content here is actually reasonably visible within this first issue. Beyond that, the choice of font made here is inexcusable; it’s almost completely unreadable, as is the lengthy biography of the author at the back. I can’t emphasize strongly enough just how much worse this makes the problem; opening a comic to be confronted by a wall of text that happens to be pretty much illegible is particularly offputting.
Fortunately, once the story gets going, things improve a lot. The actual lettering within the comic itself is far better; the recap page had concerned me greatly, but fortunately, Dominguez is actually a pretty solid letterer.
Bilbao’s pencils are, for the most part, serviceable. I don’t have a single issue with them, but nor is there any aspect of them that I particularly like. There’s a very nice dragon, and a couple of very well-handled action pages, but nothing stylistic that really stands out. This is partially due to Walker’s colors, which are perfectly fine but very uninspired. The story is told clearly and coherently, which is the most important aspect of any comic’s art, but there really isn’t any flair to it; nothing about this art is memorable and exciting, which is a shame, as the cover art is actually very nicely done and eye-catching.
The same goes for the story. It reads like the plot to a season of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, which isn’t a bad thing in itself, it’s just hardly original. Anthalos, the lead, is pretty much an off-brand Hercules, and even the weird combination of Greek names and clearly non-Greek visual design is reminiscent of Hercules. This is, however, missing the shoddy charm of that series, while failing to do anything new.
This has sounded like a very negative review, and perhaps that’s unfair. Blood of Gods #1 is an entirely competent comic. Everyone involved clearly understands the medium and is putting out very readable work. The problem is that it’s not more than that. There isn’t a single major problem with any of this, but nor is there a single aspect of it that stands out as exciting, novel, or memorable.
Blood of Gods #1
Writer/Letterer: Erick Dominguez
Artist: Jake Bilbao
Colorist: Emily Walker