By Dustin Cabeal
Cthulhu is the new zombies. That is to say that everyone has a story and it’s oversaturated the comic market. I’m completely indifferent about Cthulhu; I don’t care either way, and so it makes reading stories about Cthulhu easy to do because at the end the story needs to be the impressive part.
C21st Gods doesn’t cart out the big C right away, but they do manage to beat around the bush with the artwork. The issue starts off with a man walking his dog in the rain and witnessing a woman being killed by a guy in cult robes. Two police detectives (which seems pretty inaccurate) show up to investigate and a scuffle happens. Our surviving character from this opening then begins to head down a path of no return in which he looks into this crazy cult and how deep its roots are.
The opening is pretty good. Sure there’s stuff that makes no sense, like a man with no umbrella walking a dog in the rain, or that the first responders were detectives rather than unis, but the actual sequence of action is enjoyable. I just didn’t particularly care about the rogue cop trying to crack the case of corruption surrounding a crazy cult.
The narration doesn’t kick in until after the opening which makes sense but then is also strange. It splits the issue into two and not in a cohesive way. That and the narration is probably the weakest part of the story in that it’s pretty generic. Everything this cop thinks or says is something that you’ve heard any rogue cop chasing a supernatural lead say before. It’s not exactly bad, but it’s a far cry from memorable. That and the main character is just an archetype and nothing more at the moment. I could at least understand his passion if it meant avenging his dead partner or the poor murdered woman, but it seems like he just doesn’t like crazy cults and corruption. Like his dad was in one and the corruption ruined the cult, and now he hates them because his relationship was never the same with his mom. None of that is actually in the book, but I know so little about this character that I can make up anything, and it would be better than nothing.
The art is the strongest thing about this issue. It’s fairly photorealistic, and there’s a great deal of detail in the backgrounds as well as on the characters. Shadows are overused which is a shame because it doesn’t need them. Also, I didn’t get the impression this was the future until I looked at the cars and saw that they were all something out of Demolition Man. That and the guns looked like mini-shotguns. That title should probably have given it away, but I’ve been fooled by plenty of titles before so I rarely place any stock in them.
Does this story need the Cthulhu element? No. It could have made up its cult and monster figure and it would have read about the same. It’s just a popular literary figure to use right now but it doesn’t add anything to this issue or the story so far. I would possibly read the next issue, but based on where it ended, I’m not like excited for it. I’m not chomping at the bit for it, but rather if I came across it, I would flip through it and see if it could hook me. It’s much better than your typical indie comic, though, and that’s enough to recommend it to others that might enjoy the subject matter more than I did.
C21st Gods #1
Writer: David Tallerman
Artist: Anthony Summey
Publisher: Rosarium Publishing