Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Valerio Schiti, Marte Garcia, VC’s Travis Lanham, and Mateus Manhanini
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 4th, 2023
JONATHAN HICKMAN RE-INVENTS THE COSMOLOGY OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE as G.O.D.S. #1 kicks off! WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE-POWERS-THAT-BE MEET THE-NATURAL-ORDER-OF-THINGS? The infinite détente between THE-NATURAL-ORDER-OF-THINGS and THE-POWERS-THAT-BE nears an end. Old acquaintances are reunited during a Babylon Event. The Lion of Wolves throws the worst parties. Don’t look under the table. There’s a John Wilkes Booth penny on the ground. This ENORMOUS EXTRA-SIZED first issue features DOCTOR STRANGE, who, while not boring at all, is easily the most boring person in the book.
In Marvel, we have vigilantes, superheroes, mutants, villains, space rangers, magicians, scientists, Inhumans, Eternals, spiritual beings, other dimensions, multiverses, and now something brand new from Jonathan Hickman that’s… always been there under the surface. However, you’ve just never noticed until now. Picture it kind of like the premise of the Men in Black meets Supernatural except there are two opposing Men in Black/ Supernatural agendas at odds against one another. For the sake of argument, I’ll call them Factions. It’s The-Powers-That-Be versus The-Natural-Order-of-Things. And again, they’ve always been working for such beings as Eternity, Infinity, and the Living Tribunal.
The problem is The-Natural-Order-of-Things uses these “agents” called Centum. There are only 100 of them. Think of them as workers for The-Natural-Order-of-Things. However, on the other side, you have The-Powers-That-Be which ultimately only has one man and his technology-driven sidekick: Wyn and Dimitri. Think of Dimitri as his apprentice for the time when Wyn… dies! Wyn is the Avatar to The-Powers-That-Be who’s been at this for roughly 1000 years. Now, why these two factions are so deeply opposed wasn’t completely ironed out in this oversized issue of G.O.D.S. #1. Should it have been? Well, I’ll address that later. For now, I’d view this tale as an all-encompassing introductory tale to get the reader’s feet wet, introduce the characters, and add some flavor as to what these factions are capable of.
The problem is, other than a deep knowledge of many supernatural and spiritual things, as well as his cunning wit and charm, I don’t know what Wyn’s power set or capabilities really are. He has a long lifespan but does he actually wield magic and/or know as much as Strange? And why are we just finding out about him now? Everyone, but mainly Strange, knows about Wyn as if he’s been around for quite some time with his almost Constantine allure and sarcastic demeanor. And yes, I understand it’s a retcon. However, that’s the biggest problem with Hickman’s inaugural tale of G.O.D.S. #1. The retcon doesn’t fit very well. Wyn and these two factions are just thrust in like they’ve always been there. But, they’re kind of a big deal! So, what about every other, as they reference them, “Babylon Event” that’s transpired in Marvel History? Where have these two factions been? Why haven’t they interfered?
The implication is that they’ve been around since… forever.. but so have the Eternals. Plus, I understand the difficulty in trying to fuse together this secret society of individuals who keep the very fabric of reality at bay. However, before thrusting readers cold turkey into a story, maybe we should have garnered a bit more background first, especially with a 64-page installment. Nevertheless, what readers get in G.O.D.S. #1 is more like a movie or an all-encompassing story that stands alone and semi-introduces some key players and roles without the juicy details. In essence, that’s not necessarily a bad idea if we get all the answers down the line. However, couldn’t Hickman have done a bit of both? That’s my argument.
G.O.D.S. #1 introduces a ton of new characters and retcons these individuals into the Marvel Universe as well as a new villain and these two factions that have basically always been around since the dawn of time. Surprisingly for a Hickman comic, I was actually a bit more confused as this issue was less straightforward than his titles normally can be. Constantine meets Supernatural/ Men in Black theme was an intriguing concept that felt like a great Indie Comic story that could eventually manifest into its own universe. The biggest perk of incorporating this into Marvel is that more individuals are prone to reading it instead of a standalone issue at Image for example. That said, I understand the intent but wish at the very least this story took place in a different Multiverse.
Other than the initial confusion mixed with the weird retconning as if our heroes already know about Wyn and these two factions, the story itself was quite interesting and filled with some pretty wild action. The mystic, more supernatural reader will really enjoy the heck out of G.O.D.S. #1. Plus, like most Hickman stories, the potential is endless. You can tell he’s been dreaming this up for quite some time. From the language to the remarks from characters as well as their names, any reader can see the in-depth analysis concocted through this opening narrative. Moreover, if a new reader is looking to jump into a new title, G.O.D.S. #1 could be the perfect book for you! Everyone enters the story Even Steven. Personally, I’d give it a shot with the understanding that the main aspects of this opener are a bit confusing and not drawn out well. Nevertheless, it’s the first issue and time will tell if the story will be truly ironed out. For now, I’m all in. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!