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American Gods #4 Review

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American Gods #4 Review

I just read an entire comic book about a game of checkers. Granted, it’s a game of checkers with quite a bit at stake. If one player wins, the loser helps him with his current employer’s latest crazy scheme. If the other player wins, he gets to bash the loser’s brains out with a sledgehammer.

Seems like a bit more of a compelling game now, huh? Better than the NBA finals in any case, at least.

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American Gods #4 Review
American Gods #4
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Scott Hampton
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

This is American Gods issue 4, and I’m not sure if this comic adaption is really working for me in its current release format.

So, I’m a reader. “Voracious” doesn’t even cover it. My two hobbies outside of spending as much time with my family as possible are reading and gaming. I read for at least an hour every night, and usually upwards of 150+ books a year, including quite a few graphic novels.

I devour books, sometimes not sleeping to finish because I want to know more, to read more. This adaptation seems good, but it can’t get out of its own way when it comes to the pace.

When I read this novel originally, I was commuting to and from work via public transportation. I read American Gods, cover to cover, in probably two days. The benefit to the novel is that the slow parts, while many and varied, are not actually that slow. Reading a chapter takes a short amount of time, and you’re on to the next interesting aspect of Shadow and his weird new employment.

Monthly releases are killing me on this book.

The rest of the pieces are there. The same solid story, the artwork works well, and a small shout out to the follow up tale from Mr. Ibis’ journal – that narrative works very well in this context. I can see the smaller and more bite-sized god stories being very well fleshed out with this visual add on.

American Gods #4 Review

I just can’t for the life of me wade through this on a slow monthly basis without some serious cuts to the story. I’m not kidding that the checkers game is the main piece of action in this book. The Ibis journal takes up a large chunk at the end, and there’s a small aside with the moon, but for the most part – boom, checkers, Czernabog, hammer.

I really want to like this. I’m a Gaiman fan, and this is easily my favorite long form work of his, but I also know what’s coming up soon. Long stretches of cold Minnesota winters, and Shadow alone in a house.

In short, when three pages of text gets an entire issue here (I pulled the book and checked), I’m pulling the ripcord until the collected TPB.

Once that’s out, and I can binge read through 11 volumes in a weekend, I’ll bet I’ll be back in the good graces of the book. Until then – slow and steady is not winning this race for me.

American Gods #4 Review
American Gods #4
Is it good?
It's way too slow. This book takes an entire issue to move 6 pages in the source text, so I expect this will be a very very very very long lasting series, and I'll read it when it's collected.
Story is still rock solid.
Artwork (especially cover art) works very well for this strange trip into God-hood
Pacing. Just far too slow to make any meaningful changes in most issues. This is a slow fire of a novel, and I don't think this is working well in contrast.
Anyone else remember the shot for shot Watchmen? Yeah. Cutting things might help.

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