Mythic Volume 1 Phil Hester, John McCrea

Mythic is all you would want in a graphic novel: intricate story, tongue in cheek humor, trenchant observations, and plenty of mayhem and destruction. And yet, it somehow also fails to juggle all those great points well; I wasn’t interested in any of the characters and quickly became bored of the story. For mystifying reasons that are hard to nail down, nothing worked as intended and far too much of the book fell flat on its face.

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Story: Mythic is a series of squads around the world who take care of the hidden supernatural problems. When the teams are abruptly taken out, it’s clear something is trying to bring around Ragnarok. Will the remaining members, with all their foibles and quirkiness, be able to regroup and stop the threat?

The characters have mythological backgrounds – from North American Indian “Killer of Enemies” to a future telling Cassandra. This should have been fun – playing on the myths and taking them away from their heroic canon. But none really become interesting. The smart mouthed Cassandra chomps cigarettes and makes flippant remarks while not really helping anyone. Killer of Enemies is an alter ego of one of the main characters and I just didn’t find the take on that myth interesting either. I thought the method of bringing out that alter ego over-the-top, in a “you couldn’t think of anything better” kind of way.

The humor hits with a clunk. We should be amused and smirking but it feels far too forced to be comfortable. From the very beginning, when the main characters explain matter-of-factly to a scientist that the drought he is researching is caused by a jealous elemental love spat and not because of weather conditions, I was thinking the ‘heroes’ are insane. I was with the scientist – run away fast from the idiots! But ordinary folks inexplicably believed the Mythic squad when they were told that the elementals have to mate (much more graphic terms were used) and then there would be rain. I didn’t buy it, enjoy it, or want to follow this team further.

The illustration and coloring work have a very classic feel – sharp, tight line work reminiscent of old Flash Gordon or cold war era comics. It ended up making the story even flatter – there was no depth at all to work and I was oddly reminded of those unfunny comics in the Bazooka bubble gum wrappers. I was never drawn to the artwork, unfortunately.

The irony is that there really is nothing wrong with the parts of this title. Taken individually, there is some stellar work here: inventive storytelling, great action illustrations, and vibrant color. But as a whole, the best description I can give of each of those parts is that it is a huge mess. I had no interest in the plot, characters, illustration work and so had a hard time pushing myself to finish this first volume. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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