Mythos #1

Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2007
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Mythos #1 Writer(s): Stephen Aryan
Artist(s): Eddie Butler
Publishers: Swan Comics
From: UK
Price: US$3.00

This first part of what is intended to be a continuing story arc introduces us to the world of John Grant, an everyman type figure who is thrust into the superhero community, a world he does not understand but one that he has to adapt to and one that he will need to look to for protection if he is to survive.

This dichotomy between the ‘normal’ world and the world of superheroes is a popular one in contemporary comics [i.e ‘Astro City’] and one that provides a rich vein of material. The ability to use the problems posed by trying to exist in two worlds also makes this situation one that just begs for allegorical interpretation. So ‘Mythos’ is placing itself in fairly elevated company [including classics like ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Batman, The Dark Knight Returns’].

Like others who have explored this concept before, ‘Mythos' explores that grey area between good and evil and examines the complexities and dangers involved when as mere mortal attempts to fit the role of super hero.

It also drifts into allegorical territory in the way Aryan explores the dangers of categorising individuals, the twist at the end of this first instalment is a timely one in the way it whets the appetite for part two and also forces the reader to examine the nature of good and evil as presented in the previous 23 pages.

There are traces of humour evident here but generally this is a bleak read, one that shows the world of superhero crime fighters as being full of danger and violence. This is not the world where superheroes catch bullets in their teeth or at least if they do then they aren’t successful at catching them every single time.

The main technique used to alleviate this grim atmosphere is the way that the creators manage to introduce elements of parody into their superhero characters, especially the portrayal of the spandex wearing, caped Apex. They tread a thin line between making a serious statement and self parody and for the most part they get away with it. This tone of self mockery provides one of the comic’s highpoints, that being the death scene that takes place midway through the comic, the juxtaposition between the graphic visualisation of someone dying with a monologue tinged with humour is splendid.

So it is an interesting and tried and tested concept that the creators have handled effectively. I do have some concerns though, the dialogue is sometimes a little forced as it tries to keep the storyline going rather than play its part in character development. This is not evident throughout and when Aryan does let the characters interact the dialogue instantly moves to a more effective level. Oh and be warned the panels that include cars are not artistic highpoints.

Overall I am yet to be totally captivated but I hope to be by the end of the next edition.

In a Word: Emulous.

If you have a comment or question about Small Press then feel free to contact me