Comic Solutions

Apollo: The Brilliant One (Olympians)

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-8-33-23-amApollo: The Brilliant One (Olympians)
George O’Connor
First Second
January 2016

Apollo. The Brilliant one. Son of Zeus and Leto. Enemy of Hera. Silent and powerful. Brighter and bigger than the sun. Not one being alone can tell his tale. All nine muses stand forth and offer their tales upon the light bringer. The slayer of snakes. Diviner of truth and prophecy. And more. Watch and listen as each muse tells their tale of the greatest of Zeus’s children to live.

OK I’ve been a fan of O’Connor’s storytelling about the pantheon since the beginning and each one has gotten better and better. This one? This one though? Is my favorite so far (although the one about Apollo’s sister Artemis just might beat it. Although that’s a review for another day.) The thing I love about this is that with previous gods they all kinda of stood for one thing. Zeus ruler of the heavens. Hera his Queen. Poseidon, Hades, Aphrodite, Ares, etc. They weren’t simple characters by any means, but their stories were easier to understand. Apollo though? Apollo has stood for so many different things and been presented so many different ways. Being the sun god he can often be confused as being a bit of an ass (see how he’s presented in the Percy Jackson series for example.) I mean, he means well, but he’s never really presented as someone you would take seriously. O’Connor though chooses to present all of his different aspects in a way that any reader can understand. And one of the ways he does this is uniting the character throughout the tale. Even though its from different viewpoints, presumably because its from different authors, O’Connor presents them as one person. The personalities we see in each different story continue over the other and overlap.

The second way he does this is his art style. Some creators would choose this as a chance to showcase different styles representing different characteristics. But not O’Connor. Instead he uses this as again to show its the same character throughout. Each representation of Apollo looks like the previous ones, so that we understand that it’s all one person, just with different aspects. Much like Aphrodite, its the way Apollo carries himself that shows his different aspects. His movements, voice, etc. and the way O’Connor draws him, really highlight that this is the same character just with a wide array of powers. I particularly love the expressions on the faces of the characters throughout the book. It takes a skilled artist to be able to pull that off and O’Connor is able to capture it in the nuances of the characters expressions with a raised eyebrow and a slight tilt to the head. It really helps make the characters come to life.

One of the great features of this series, is at the end O’Connor has a section that talks about the different characters, who they are, and other details to help learn more about the Greek world. This is the perfect companion for people that have been enjoying the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and want to know more about the Greek/Roman gods and how they work. It would be ok for elementary school age (3rd and above) but they would probably need to read it with a parent. But this would be an excellent book for a middle or high schooler (or even adult) that wants to learn more about the world of Greek mythology.

ARC provided by Gina at First Second

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