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Skeletons From My Stack: Goddess Mode

Goddess Mode

Welcome to another edition of Skeletons from my Stack. A review series wherein I finally get around to reading graphic novels that have been sitting on the “to-be-read” stack on my nightstand for far too long. Thanks to a three day holiday weekend, I finally had a chance to read Goddess Mode. This limited series, written by Zoë Quinn and drawn by Robbi Rodriguez, was on my radar well before the first issue hit stands. Unfortunately, with all the other comics I was reading, I couldn’t afford to buy it in single issues. At the time, and outside of my review projects, I read titles by DC Comics exclusively, and as excited as I was for this unique series, I had no choice but to wait for the trade paperback. Meanwhile, the pandemic occurred and shutdown comic book production and shipments. Once things started to open back up, there was still a lull between my comic book store reopening and Diamond resuming shipments. Making the most out of a bad situation, I was finally able to purchase a copy of the Goddess Mode trade paperback from my local comic book shop.

Goddess Mode takes place half in the real world and half in the completely digital world of Azoth. In the technological realm of Azoth, science meets magic as Oracles battle against Daemons. Oracles, people whose minds have been dragged into Azoth, possess abilities unique to themselves. In order to escape from Azoth, an Oracle must defeat a Daemon, the dark pieces of corrupt code that feed on human suffering. The trade paperback starts with two pages that present the background details I just described in a clever play on a FAQ web page. Unfortunately, this section may have been misplaced. The beginning of this comic not only has really slow pacing but has little to do with the info provided on the first two pages. Further, many of the pieces of information that are mentioned in the opening FAQ are then restated in the first dozen dialogue-heavy pages.

“IF THEY WANT TO BE RELENTLESS, WE CAN BE DAUNTLESS”

The pace picks up soon after, though the book continues to be dialogue heavy. Quinn uses her wordy script to explore her characters. The amount of character development she manages, while still moving the plot forward and sprinkling in elements of mystery, is quite impressive. The Oracles were my favorite part of this mini-series. Unfortunately, by the end of the book, the Oracles don’t get the treatment they deserved. I found the climax to be very confusing. I re-read the last two issues twice, and I still can’t adequately explain the story’s true central conflict, the answer to the overarching mystery, or the Oracles’ true role in Azoth.

I love the contrast of colors between digital Azoth and the analog real world. The neon bright colors Rico Renzi uses for Azoth pop off the page. I also loved Robbi Rodriguez’s character designs. Every Oracle is unique and has their own distinct attitude that’s obvious just from the way they’re drawn. I got the best kind of cyberpunk Sailor Moon vibe (minus the matching school girl outfits) from the Oracles as I read through the book. Simon Bowland is due commemoration for his lettering skills. He not only has to fit a lot of dialogue into most panels, but has to do it across multiple fonts and formats. I do wish the action scenes were drawn a little clearer, specifically the Oracles using their special powers. Most of the fights wind up being talking heads and blurred bodies. When the Oracles use their powers, it’s not always obvious which one’s abilities are manifesting. Other times they use their powers in the background of a panel and the details become so small that it’s hard to tell what’s going on.

“WHEN LIFE IS DOING ITS DAMNDEST TO KILL YOU, EVERY DAY YOU SURVIVE IS A VICTORY.”

Goddess Mode’s story is entertaining but it struggles tonally. Quinn never really finds a balance between elements of mystery and action/adventure. The character development is great but the story itself winds up being confusing. The characters look great when they’re standing still but the visual quality and clarity declines when they’re drawn in motion. Luckily, the colors and lettering keep panels looking interesting even when it becomes hard to tell what’s going on. All in all, I’m glad I finally got around to reading this Skeleton from my Stack, but I don’t think I’d ever choose to read Goddess Mode a second time.

Story: Zoë Quinn Art: Robbi Rodriguez
Colors: Rico Renzi Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 3.5 Art: 5.0 Overall: 4.3


Purchase: comiXology AmazonKindleZeus Comics

Preview: The Infected: Deathbringer #1

The Infected: Deathbringer #1

(W) Zoe Quinn (A) Brent Peeples (CA) Viktor Bogdanovic
In Shops: Dec 04, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Donna Troy is a hero. She fought alongside friends, led the Titans into battle, and buried more friends in the line of duty than she cares to remember. She’s strong, she’s brave, she’s one of the fiercest warriors on the planet…and she’s the Batman Who Laughs’ next target for infection!

Spinning out of the events of The Batman Who Laughs and Batman/Superman comes the story of a hero who is done with bringing peace to a world that cannot be trusted with it. A woman who’s past has been her greatest adversary, and whose newly awakened dark side is ready to burn it all down and forge a new destiny. No more peace. Only…Deathbringer!

The Infected: Deathbringer #1

Preview: The Addams Family: The Bodies Issue

The Addams Family: The Bodies Issue

(W) Zoe Quinn (A/CA) Philip Murphy
In Shops: Nov 06, 2019
SRP: $4.99

While searching the Addams library for the creepiest grimoire, Wednesday Addams discovers a mysterious tome that promises true empowerment to the young woman who wields it. Wednesday decides to complete the dark rituals hidden within this Eleventeen magazine-and achieve ultimate power.

The Addams Family: The Bodies Issue

Preview: Fearless #3 (of 4)

Fearless #3 (of 4)

(W) Seanan McGuire, Zoe Quinn (A) Claire Roe, Marika Cresta, Alti Firmansyah (CA) Yasmin Putri
Rated T+
In Shops: Sep 25, 2019
SRP: $4.99

YOUR FAVORITE HEROINES UNITE FOR ACTION-PACKED ADVENTURE!
NOW A FOUR ISSUE SERIES!

Alien invasion at a summer camp for young girls? You know who to call. Captain Marvel is on her way – and she won’t be alone. Some of Marvel’s biggest heroes unite for the battle of the season! Then, a new mystery puts Patsy Walker – a.k.a. Hellcat – on the prowl! And don’t miss your dose of Herstory with profiles on classic and contemporary creators!

Fearless #3 (of 4)

DC Reveals Two More Heroes Corrupted by the Batman Who Laughs

Six corrupt versions of DC’s Super Heroes are coming to terrorize Earth this November and December in a series of six comics running parallel to the story unfolding in Batman/Superman by writer Joshua Williamson and artist David Marquez. Each one-shot or tie-in special spotlights a corrupt version of Shazam!, Supergirl, Hawkman, Donna Troy, Jim Gordon, and Blue Beetle, known within the DC universe as The Infected.

These six issues star DC’s beloved heroes, revealed to be secretly infected by The Batman Who Laughs with a toxin that violently transforms them into the worst versions of themselves. Their buried frustrations and pent-up anger will boil to the surface, unleashing dangerous results. They’ll also be The Batman Who Laughs’ lieutenants against “Apex” Lex Luthor in James Tynion IV and Steve Epting‘s Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen mini-series, launching December 18th.

The final victims of The Batman Who Laughs’ toxins, Donna Troy and Jim Gordon, will be featured in December’s two one-shots. The Infected: Deathbringer #1, by writer Zoë Quinn and artist Tyler Kirkhamhits shelves December 4th and The Infected: The Commissioner #1, by writer Paul Jenkins and artist Jack Herbert, hits shelves on December 18th.

Both of these one-shots will feature covers by Viktor Bogdanovic. One is a story of a hero who is done with bringing peace to a world that cannot be trusted with it; a woman whose newly awakened dark side is ready to burn it all down and forge a new destiny, and the other about a hero whose sense of duty and honor is stripped away; a man who has finally given in to his worst impulses—and he might just take the entire city into the darkness with him…

The Infected: Deathbringer #1
The Infected: The Commissioner #1

IDW Gets Spooky with The Addams Family

IDW Publishing has announced its first foray into the iconic kooky world of The Addams Family! The whimsical one-shot – entitled The Addams Family: The Bodies Issue – features a story by writer Zoë Quinn and artist Philip Murphy and is timed to the October 11th release of the highly anticipated CGI animated film.

In The Bodies Issue comic, available in October, Wednesday Addams discovers a mysterious tome – one that promises true empowerment to the young woman who wields it. Wednesday decides to complete the dark rituals hidden within this Eleventeen magazine… and achieve ultimate power!

The Addams Family: The Bodies Issue one-shot will be available with two variant covers, by series artist Philip Murphy and Kate Sherron, respectively.

The Addams Family: The Bodies Issue

Preview: Goddess Mode #6

Goddess Mode #6

(W) Zoe Quinn (A/CA) Robbi Rodriguez
In Shops: Jun 19, 2019
SRP: $3.99

With the astonishing secret of Azoth revealed at last and the fate of the digital and analog worlds at stake, the Tall Poppies come into conflict over which is the best of very bad options, all of them fatal. As Cassandra agonizes over whom to side with, the girls’ true enemy makes their move.

Goddess Mode #6

Preview: Goddess Mode #5

Goddess Mode #5

(W) Zoe Quinn (A/CA) Robbi Rodriguez
In Shops: Apr 24, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The deadly Daemon/human hybrid known as Antimony has been a constant threat to Cassandra ever since she first entered the secret world of Azoth. But the Tall Poppies are going to learn just how wrong they were about this most mysterious foe when DC Vertigo’s cyberpunk saga travels back to the origins of Azoth itself… and who really built it… and why.

Goddess Mode #5

Preview: Goddess Mode #4

Goddess Mode #4

(W) Zoe Quinn (A/CA) Robbi Rodriguez
In Shops: Mar 27, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Cassandra is welcomed to the world of cyber-organic wrestling, where magical girl Farrah fights robots, humans, and everything in between! But no sooner has Cassandra found a new home within the Poppies than schisms threaten to break the girls apart.

Goddess Mode #4

Review: Goddess Mode #2

Goddess Mode #2

Dragged violently into a secret world of monsters, magic, and metadata, Cassandra is asked to join the group of superpowered girls who saved her in their fight against the mysterious Daemons. But Cassandra has so many questions of her own to answer first-Why was she attacked? What is the omnipotent Hermeticorp up to? And most importantly, who are these girls anyway?

Goddess Mode #2 keeps up the action in an issue that explains a bit more of what’s going on and not enough at the same time. Writer Zoë Quinn delivers an issue that adds intriguing layers to this world but in the end comes off as a high-tech magical girl story. That’s not a bad thing but this feels like a series we’ve seen before but fantasy is replaced by technology.

Who were the girls Cassandra met and what’s going on? Quinn explains that, sort of, leaving open a lot of questions and also throwing in some things I hate considered, like is it all a hallucination? The concepts thrown out there are interesting, ghosts in the machine being daemons but there’s something about the series so far that feels all too familiar. Again, it’s not bad at all, just not as original as it may have first appeared.

The craziness that Quinn delivers succeeds due to the art of Robbi Rodriguez with color by Rico Renzi and lettering by Simon Bowland. The combination of art and color deliver a look and matches the frenetic and kinetic nature of Quinn’s storytelling. It’s a style that says cyberpunk but not at the same time. There’s a bit of Tron thrown in on top of things as well as popular designs from manga. It all comes together for a series that visually stands out.

Two issues in and Goddess Mode feels more like a mish-mash of a lot of different things from fantasy, cyberpunk, Tron, manga, magical girl trope, and more. It’s not necessarily unique but it delivers a blender full of concepts into something that’s a fun read and gets you to want to see what’s next.

Story: Zoë Quinn Art: Robbi Rodriguez
Color: Rico Renzi Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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