May 9, 2017

Hidden Gems: Geoff Johns and Butch Guice's Olympus

Hidden Gems looks at some comics you may not have heard of. This time we'll look at a comic published by Humanoids/DC Comics in 2005, called...

Olympus, by Geoff Johns, Kris Grimminger, and Butch Guice

It's 2003 and Geoff Johns is still a year away from Green Lantern: Rebirth and claiming his undisputed place as DC's top writer. DC Comics at the time has a partnership with Paris-based comics publisher, Humanoids. Johns, working with Kris Grimminger, pitches a series featuring "every great monster from Greek mythology, from Medusa to the Stymphalian Birds." So they contact Butch Guice, who's fresh off of drawing Ruse (from the criminally short-lived company CrossGen) and colorist Dan Brown, and the result is a fun and aesthetically gorgeous, if narratively shallow, comic.

We start with a shot of one of our main characters, Brent, diving and exploring. And, man, look at that art. Look at those lush colors. They're gorgeous. Reading this comic was like if your eyes had taste buds and you fed them candy.

We learn that Brent is part of an archaeological group in Europe, and this is their vacation before heading back to America. We meet the studious Rebecca and lackadaisical Sarah, sisters who couldn't be more different.

And basically Sarah walks around in that for the entire comic,
because apparently Johns watched that GI Joe episode.
We're introduced also to their professor, Gail Walker, and together they find what looks to be a historical version of Pandora's Box, the jar that brings demons into the Earth. Their ship is then hijacked by a bunch of pirates, but a storm shipwrecks them on an island. And that island is beautiful.

Seriously, look at that. Look! 

Turns out it's Olympus, of Greek myth, and the jar really is Pandora's box. And damn, they need to get that thing to the top of the mountain where it belongs, or things like this come after them.

Okay, so there isn't much to the story other than a glorified mountain climbing experience. Johns does Johns and introduces some very basic plot elements to make us sympathize with the characters more. The Archaeology program is getting shut down. Brent's dad is in jail. Rebecca and Sarah are disappointed in each other. That's all the emotional depth to the story, but hey, that's not the point of it.

Really, it reads like a survival thriller movies where the goal is just to move from Point A to Point B (think of something like Gravity or The Shallows). But man. It sure is damn pretty.

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