By Jonathan Edwards
God Complex is an answer to the question “what if Greek gods existed in a cyberpunk future,” and I kind of have to wonder how much of a coincidence it is that this is coming out on the heels of Blade Runner 2049’s release (but, I digress). I was initially a little on the fence about checking this one out, because, while I’m a sucker for mythology, I’m a lot less enthusiastic about cyberpunk and, really, sci-fi in general. I obviously decided to go for it anyway, and though I’m still not quite sold on the series, God Complex #1 offers solid enough characterization, world-building, and intrigue to be a decent read.
Right off the bat, we’re introduced to our protagonist, a police detective named Seneca, which, I must say, is a pretty appropriate name for a detective given Seneca the Younger’s relevance to Stoicism, Stoicism’s relevance to logic, and logic’s relevance to, well, being a detective. Anyway, Seneca is investigating the murder of three acolytes from the Church of the Trinity (presumably an analog for the Christian Church). Now, one might presume that the Church represents a rival religion in Delphi, and that’s what I initially thought as well. However, something I progressively noticed was that the Rulers were never really treated like the gods they’re named for or even gods at all. I mean, yes, they are called ‘Rulers,’ but based on the interactions seen here, I get much more of a ‘technologically advanced alien’ vibe.
Speaking of the Rulers, I swear, every time I look at the designs for them, my first thought is that they’re supposed to be Egyptian gods rather than Greek. In particular, I could easily see Apollo’s design working just as well for Ra. At first, I thought that might very well be the intent, but now I’m not so sure. Apparently, God Complex originally started as a line of expensive (like $250 a pop) action figures designed by Bryan Lie. By visiting their official website you can see a full list of characters, and one of them is, in fact, the Egyptian god Horus.
While Lie’s Ruler designs are the standout here, Hendry Prasetya does deserve a bit of credit for the rest of the art. He was able to successfully find an aesthetic for the environments and other denizens of this world without also undercutting the impact of the Rulers themselves. Honestly, if I hadn’t read and heard otherwise, I would’ve fully expected Hermes, Apollo, and even Athena on the cover of the third issue, to all be straight from Prasetya as well.
The more I sit and think on God Complex, the more interested in the book I become. Like I said before, this first issue is good, but it’s not great, and those can be the hardest to review and recommend (or not). Yet, there is a slow burn appeal to this one that I am starting to feel, but it will be the next issue or two that really make or break it. For now, if you’re into cyberpunk or mythology, or even if the juxtaposition of the two just seems interesting, and you have the $4-ish to spare, I’d say at least give it a shot and see what you think.
God Complex #1
Creator: Bryan Lie
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Hendry Prasetya
Colorist: Jessica Kholinne
Letterer: Jaka Ady
Editor: Elena Salcedo
Producer: Sunny Gho
Publisher: Image Comics