Image Comics’ God Complex is one of my favorite current comics that no one seems to be talking about. The series, created by Bryan Lie, mixes science-fiction concepts and character designs with heavy mythological references to create something fresh and interesting. Issue #5 is written by Paul Jenkins, drawn by Hendry Prasetya, colored by Sunny Gho, and lettered by Jaka Ady. At this point in the story, the protagonist, Seneca, has unwillingly received cybernetic enhancements from a privileged class known as the Rulers, who he resents but cooperates with in order to further his own agenda. Does this issue deliver the same flavor of sci-fi intrigue that made the first four issues so memorable?
One of the coolest aspects of God Complex is its sci-fi world, which is rendered beautifully. Prasetya excels at drawing scenery, especially in the issue’s city scenes. The high rises and churches all look very imposing, as does the badass literal labyrinth toward the issue’s end. There’s a definite sense that Seneca is navigating a large world with danger lurking around every corner. The visuals also owe a lot of their oomph to Gho’s coloration. Both neon-lit technological marvels and dark, secluded locales are highly evocative of their scenes’ respective moods. The Rulers’ cybernetic bodies are also really eye-catching thanks to all the shine upon the metal.
On the downside, this issue’s narration is a bit perplexing. It’s told in second-person point-of-view, with constant usage of the word “you.” The “you” seems to mean Seneca, but there’s no indication who is addressing him. There’s no other character clearly speaking to him, and if it’s just meant to be the writer or an other unknown narrator then that decision isn’t working. It just creates an unnecessary sense of distance from Seneca, as the narrator references personal events in the character’s life. It would have felt much less awkward to just get that information from Seneca’s own thoughts. With that said, I would also want that information to get trimmed down a bit–the beginning of the issue feels like an exposition dump.
With that said, there is a lot to appreciate about this issue’s writing. Seneca’s tense dynamic with the Rulers continues to intrigue me, and I have no idea how things will play out by the series’ end. The introduction of a labyrinth and minotaur to the series is also very cool, as God Complex strays beyond its usual references to the most well-known members of the Greek pantheon.
Overall, God Complex #5 is an enjoyable read. Most of the artwork is very pleasing to look at, and the mixture of mythology with futuristic technology is great. With that said, I have major qualms with the narration both in terms of effective point-of-view and exposition dumping. Nonetheless, this series continues to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to issue #6.
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