ARC Review: God Complex, Vol. 1: Dogma by Paul Jenkins, Bryan Lie & Hendry Prasetya

God Complex, Vol. 1: DogmaGod Complex, Vol. 1: Dogma by Paul Jenkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Release date: July 24, 2018

A young forensics investigator finds his worldview turned upside down, when a bizarre religious triple-homicide introduces him to the Rulers, godlike beings who have ruled humanity since the dawn of time.

Note: While this series has been intended for mature audiences, it is suitable for older teens at the very least.

The first and best thing you notice about God Complex is the artwork – good Gods, that artwork! It is beautiful and makes me want to cry a little, with how it seems so detailed at first glance and then when you look closely it doesn’t seem that fully detailed in lineart, but with subtle painting styles makes it all come together in a realistic enough picture that you are left admiring. (Maybe it is just the amateur artist in me, but I loved loved loved this style).

Moving on to the underlying flesh of the graphic novel, the story is about a detective in a futuristic city called Delphi, who is investigating a triple homicide and how it relates to the local church of the Trinity. If you are wondering whether it is religious themed, yes it is. The Trinity church obviously sounds Christian, and the ‘rulers’ of Delphi are these entities that are named (so far) from the Greek pantheon of Gods. We have Hermes, Hephaestus, Apollo, and Athena in this volume, and they range from helpful to shady in that order. They also consider themselves omniscient and gods of this realm, and with the amount of surveillance they have over the city, they might as well consider themselves that. There’s also a rebellious faction of humans who oppose the rulers, so yeah, it is pretty much standard Dystopian fare. The plot isn’t that novel and it works well nevertheless, especially when it has the artwork and the world-building to carry it forward.

As for the world-building, that’s another place where it shines. It combines mythology and cyberpunk in a Matrix-inspired world, where data can have sentience and there is a good melding of magical concepts like the Fates and creation of demigods in this futuristic landscape. It leans a little too hard on the divide between the Trinity and the Rulers at times, calling back on the war Christianity waged against pagan religions. The main character himself is pretty much lost in the plot for now, regaining his agency only in the last chapter, but even that comes at a cost.

So, it is an interesting start into a wonderfully constructed world, with great artwork.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Image Comics, via Edelweiss.

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