AMERICAN GODS: THE MOMENT OF THE STORM #2
As the old gods take ownership of the body of Wednesday, Shadow encounters his old prison cell mate, who just happens to be the driver for Mr World. And the penny finally drops on the simplistic genius of a name that has been hiding in plain sight all along. Low Key Lyesmith is none other than Loki. When the two opposing sides depart, words of consolation and consequence are spoken.
And as Shadow sets off with Wednesday’s body, he again asks Nancy about the Vigil and is informed matter of factly it involves being strung up on the World Tree for nine days and nights without food or water. Remembering his bargain to Wednesday Shadow offers to take the Vigil, despite the concerns of Czernobog, who reminds him about their own agreement. And also much against the advice of Nancy, who insists it may kill him, before they both finally leave him to be prepared and tied to the tree.
Art: Glenn Fabry and Adam Brown give us a cover that shows us an ideal lead into the story, depicting the main players in the continuing tale and showing their personalities to perfection. And to contrast the realism we have the fantasy flavored variant by David Mack that is a perfect complement, as well as being in keeping with much from the Gaiman Library. Throughout the unfolding story Scott Hampton has also made his mark on the narrative and ensured the identity of the whole thing perfectly. And here again he does a wonderful job of conveying the setting and mood. And even though in some of the scenes the characters themselves are merely set dressing, with a lot of meticulous detail and focus on background objects, it just feels so right. To me this makes for some realistic images that drag you into the story. And as a VW camper van owner I have to say I love every scene with that little blue van in, she is just a character in her own right. Even down to the windows used as panels as Shadow looks out of them. This is a clever little detail that again draws the reader into the narrative and makes you feel part of the story..
And unless the characters are in close up or speaking they tend to blend into the surroundings, which is kind of true to life. But when they’re focus of the panel he renders them with loving attention to detail. The facial expressions, posing and layout is almost portrait perfect. From the shrouded body of Wednesday and the meticulous detail included in the folds of the sheet to the photo real backgrounds as the players walk toward the camper van. The shadows also lend texture to the feel of the setting and the overall mood. And on occasion I had a feel of Through a Scanner Darkly, with the photo-realistic faces etched in charcoal. Jennifer T. Lange also plays an integral part here with the coloring, making the surroundings feel natural and realistic without using too ‘lary’ a color palette.
Writing: It was always of great interest to me to see how this arc of the story would be visualised. In the novel it was a surreal encounter between the opposing factions, in a totally still and mundane setting. And everyone seemed to be observing the steps needed to perform the exchange with as little confrontation as necessary. It almost gave the impression they didn’t want to waste any effort, but save it for the coming storm. And through the lead up to the ritual of Vigil it becomes about the interactions Shadow has with various members of the opposition, which is perfectly conveyed by Gaiman in the book and also transfers flawlessly to the adaptation here by P. Craig Russell. All of it is translated seamlessly and depicts the relevant drama without missing a beat of all the key aspects of the experience for Shadow. The confusing offer from Media, the disturbing chat with Technical Boy and the revelation that his old friend Low Key has been hiding insidiously in the shadows pulling strings all along, despite his claim of coincidence.
Even down to the inclusion of WB Yeats ‘The Second Coming’ as spoken by Technical Boy. Which is both faithful to the original text and also painfully foreboding, as it hints at the fate of Shadow and his role in events, finally. And so it all comes to the Vigil, at last. And it begins to dawn on us exactly what Wednesday had intended all along for Shadow, as he recalls the conversation they had when first meeting. This scene as well is perfectly inserted into the prose without being jarring as it mingles the discussion with Wednesday and scenes of his body being carried by Shadow.
Story/Characters: From the opening it is also clear to Shadow that things aren’t as cut and dried as an exchange of a body. Nancy is markedly subdued and not his usual joking self. One would think it was natural given the circumstances. But in the past Nancy has been defined by his outgoing gregarious attitude, even in the worst of times. So there is clearly a change in the air and this sets up the feel of the whole narrative. Czernobog and Technical Boy are also visibly affected by the sense of friction. Czernobog is rightfully enraged by the affrontary and injustice of the act performed against them, while Technical Boy seems to be glitching quite dramatically.
Yet despite the anger and indignation between them all, they seem for the most part to be capable of civility on this one rare occasion. The very contradictory nature of the exchange, being a pact made to face each other in a peaceful gesture, is bookended by both the pre-existing act of murder and potential future acts of violence, which causes friction and uncertainty in the air. And so it follows that much of the story is centered around the surreal ritual of exchange and the mysterious way that the old and new gods interact, and in some cases don’t.
Another fine example of how adaptations can truly open up the story, by adding a new perspective and including the reader in events. This continued collaboration is making for a seamless follow on to the unfolding story in a perfectly harmonious way. To say I'm low key loving this is an understatement.
American Gods: The Moment of the Storm #2 A Lie For an Eye
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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