Redhand: Twilight of the Gods describes the journey of an awakened test-tube soldier as he seeks information about his purpose in life and learns of an ancient prophecy where one of his nature will challenge the Gods. His journey takes him across the known-world where he experiences many different people and challenges. Will he fulfill the prophecy and destroy the Gods?
Redhand: Twilight of the Gods (Humanoids Inc.)
Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey is followed to a tee in Redhand: Twilight of the Gods. If you don’t know what the hero’s journey is, I suggest you go and watch the original Star Wars trilogy. It is a perfect example. If you don’t have time to binge watch three movies, check out the outline the folks over at The Writer’s Journey have put together.
Redhand: Twilight of the Gods is a unique graphic novel. It is split into two halves. The first half is written by Kurt Busiek with artwork by Mario Alberti. The second half is written by Sam Timel with artwork by Bazal. It is quite rare to see a full story not have a singular writer, but the combination works. Busiek’s writing flows into Timel’s. It is a seamless transition and yet it is a pointed transition. Redhand has made his allegiance known and prepares for the oncoming conflict with the Gods.
The setting of the story was very interesting. When we are first introduced to Redhand, tribal people are hunting each other in an attempt to acquire slaves. The slavers completely outmatch their prey when it comes to technological advances. The pursued tribe ride on the back of dinosaurs equipped with handmade spears and bows and arrows. Meanwhile, the slavers hunt them down with laser blasts that obliterate entire rock faces. The chase leads the two factions into a spacious high tech factory resembling the harvesting pods from the The Matrix. Not only is this a post-apocalyptic world filled with advanced technology and ignorant inhabitants who have lost the knowledge of their predecessors, but there is also magic. The magic is primarily wielded by monks who have taken it upon themselves to become the ruling class, but there are other magicians who dabble in the art.
The main focus of the story follows Redhand as he finds himself awakened in this strange world. He attempts to get along with the locals, but their paranoia and fear, coupled with the outcry of the local monk, drive them to violence against him. After this encounter, he finds himself wandering the world, pursuing a prophecy, and attempting to discover who the Gods are and why they seem to want him dead.
Redhand is an unassuming character. He bides his time and performs manual labor tasks in order to travel from place to place. One of his biggest character strengths is his strong heart. He quickly responds to those in need, whether it is performing a C-section or freeing an entire city of slaves, although it does take him some convincing to free the slaves. As the story progresses, he becomes singularly focused on learning more about the Gods as the story progresses.
One of the most troubling issues with the book is its transitions. They are very hard transitions that leave quite a bit of time and space between them. After Redhand learns more about the monks and their taxation policies (they take two-thirds of the villagers’ harvest), he sets out into the distance. In the next panel, Redhand is working the fish market in a bustling port. It is a tad too abrupt for me. Busiek uses some decent dialogue in an attempt to soften the transition, but the next two pages are unnecessary exposition.
The artwork is fun. Both Alberti and Bazal create a large and interesting world filled with wild monsters, unique locations, and interesting personas. Alberti’s work on Lord Radric’s mansion is fantastic. He incorporates a number of artifacts from fighter jets to a flat screen monitor to a Swiss army knife. I enjoyed Alberti’s depiction of magic and how the villagers bend their backs and are literally floated in the air as they receive the God’s blessing. Bazal’s work is great too. He creates one panel with the sun right behind Redhand’s head giving him a halo-effect. The imagery is fantastic. Bazal’s robotic creations are also awesome to look at. He is able to scale them, effectively depicting Redhand’s army being demolished by the metallic giants.
Redhand: Twilight of the Gods was a fun journey fraught with interesting personas. He was challenged almost every step of the way, but he was not alone and received aid from a variety of characters. The world was vast and there is plenty of room to return and further explore other characters and their stories. The book did struggle with its transitions; you would flip the page and find yourself practically at a brand new starting point in the story. If you are looking for a post-apocalyptic story with a hero attempting to figure out who he is and why he exists (something we can all relate to), I suggest you pick up Redhand: Twilight of the Gods.
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