By: Miguel Acedo
As anticipation for the 3-D epic film Immortals reaches a fever pitch, Relativity Media and Archaia Entertainment showcase the grandeur of Greek Mythology with the release of Immortals: Gods and Heroes. This handsome hardcover is the ultimate companion piece to the film directed by visionary Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall).
The film will follow Theseus (Henry Cavill), a mortal man chosen by Zeus to wage war against the callous King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), who tears through Greece to acquire a weapon that can annihilate humanity. This weapon, the legendary Epirus Bow imbued with the glory of Zeus, also has the ability to release the imprisoned Titans, who lust for revenge against the Gods for imprisoning them. This sets the stage for the final struggle in an ageless conflict: Good versus Evil. And mortals shall decide the victor.
Boasting ten all-new, untold tales, Immortals: Gods and Heroes avoids the trappings of the usual lackluster film-to-comics adaptation and actually enriches the world of story soon-to-be presented on the screen. By the sheer magnitude of talented creators and on the merits of each tale building a larger and riveting narrative, this book takes Titans, Gods, Heroes and Tyrants and shows us humanity as it has always been. These characters are recognizable and empathetic.
Each tale has a purpose. Each tale drives us closer to the filmic story. Each tale can stand alone, but the beauty of this book is the sense of unity. I would be remiss if I failed to mention of the stand-out tales.
“The Bow Bearer” by writer Paul Tobin and artist Ben Templesmith is encompassing of War and just how unfair it can be, while telling the origin the Epirus Bow. The story revolves around Ares, the God of War, the Titan, Cyclopes, imprisoned forger of arms and armor, and Hercules, bastard son of Zeus. Promises of victory and freedom conflict and make this tale a bittersweet, evocative enterprise.
In “War of the Gods,” writer Ron Marz and illustrator Rafael Kayanan give us a layered final battle between the Gods and Titans. Kayanan’s images pulsate with rapidity yet masterful pacing. This Ares centric tale captures the beauty of War through Kayanan’s choreography of dynamic action, anatomy and emotion.
And the simplest and most visually filmic tale, “The Hunt,” comes from writer/artist Jock. Told effectively with one line, one word of dialogue, this story serves as an example of how to push a narrative forward through visuals. It’s the perfect way to segue into the visual feast Tarsem is bound to provide with Immortals.
If only more publishers of film-to-comics adaptations, prequels or sequels were to take the approach of Relativity Media and Archaia Entertainment, graphic novel companion pieces would surely fortify rather than subvert the films they spin out of. Immortals: Gods and Heroes shines as an example of why the books Archaia continues to produce are becoming the stuff of legend.