By Ben Snyder
Three issues into Dread Gods and it finally seems like the story will fulfill on the promise of the original issue. Throughout almost the entirety of Dread Gods #3, I gave up on the series. Nothing new or exciting happened. The supposed plot revelation felt cliché and the writing was adequate at best. But the ending opened up a whole new element for future issues that I never would have expected.
Writer Ron Marz’s series hasn’t been a groundbreaking piece with biting socio/political commentary. If anything the series has simply served as a way to see ancient Greek Gods adorned like modern-day wrestlers duke it out. And this isn’t a bad thing as that is an awesome premise that would have most readers hooked. It simply becomes an issue because Marz is so intent on forcing it away from entertainment. Marz seems predetermined to draw obvious parallels between the Gods World and Carver’s.
Marz doesn’t do a particularly good job at writing any of the characters either. The Gods seem like they’re ripped from a Saturday night cartoon with their cheesy camaraderie. I never believed any of them were in danger. But even worse, Carver and Rad barely have any character to speak of. It’s presumed these are the main characters but they have nothing to distinguish themselves as so. The only details that stick out of either of them is that Carver is handicapped and a huge fanboy and that Rad is into cars. That’s it.
Perhaps the biggest plot revelation that has come in this entire series happens while the primary antagonist Prometheus explains his grand scheme to the audience. And this plot twist creates the largest point of intrigue to the overarching story so far and it combines both the plots in a way that makes sense. I wonder what’ll happen in the coming issues in the wake of such a revelation and more specifically how Carver will react.
Tom Raney’s art services this comic well and doesn’t particularly detract from it. Raney’s style is particularly suited to drawing the Gods as his muscular frames and cartoony proportions add to the outlandish wrestler/ Power Ranger vibe that comes from their storyline. But I feel as though the Carver storyline would be better suited for another artist. When Raney is depicting the everyday or ordinary his bulbous figures seem exceptionally ugly and everything is given an aura of macho that is otherwise unnecessary. It’s fine if Carver looks odd because I assume he’s supposed to be odd looking. But Rad and almost every other character as well? The only ones who seem immune to this quality are the gods. I would really love to see Raney draw a comic set around the entirety of the Gods’ world.
Dread Gods #3 does little to draw in new readers, but nothing to offend the old ones. It’s not one of the best series around right now and I don’t think that’s what it’s aiming for. There is nothing wrong with this book just being ok. But sometimes, especially in Dread Gods #3 it struggles to even do that. Despite this, Marz introduces enough to inspire hope for future issues and Raney’s God scenes are particularly visceral and cartoonish.
Dread Gods #3
Ominous Press/IDW Publishing