There are very few stories that Geoff Johns has told that have not been centered in the DC Universe and one of them is Olympus. This particular tale that takes place in the present and features those mythical beings only found in Greek lore, beings whose effect on popular culture remains just as strong today as it ever was. It is a story of high adventure and one that people often refer to as a ‘page-turners,’ one that grabs you from the very first and brings you along for the ride as all great adventures do. Aiding Johns in this endeavour is co-author Kris Grimminger and artist Butch Guice. Together, the three of them take the reader back to ancient days when man was fearful of vengeful gods and scared of monsters that could kill them in a heartbeat.
One of the better aspects about this book is that Grimminger and Johns utilize Greek mythology in a more classic sense, one that is more Clash of the Titans in nature rather than doing something like reinventing the wheel or placing said gods or monsters in a modern setting. When the story starts out, it finds a group of students out exploring the ocean for a class when they are hijacked by pirates. From there, things only get worse when both good guys and bad find themselves washed up on what seems to be an island, only this island is unlike any other they have ever seen before. This island is filled with monsters and it will be quite a chore to escape as they must now all work together and it is either do that or they will most likely perish and neither students, teacher nor pirates want to die. Though there are creatures like the cyclops, man-eating birds, sea monsters, the Minotaur and more, they will find that the most dangerous creature of all is man. The idea of being able to trust someone is oftentimes a fantasy but it is something everyone in the group must acquire if they are to live through this nightmare. Though one would seem to be harder than the other, man is a deceptive creature and being what the story is, thanking Pandora and her box would not be completely out of the question.
Like every good adventure tale, whether it is the previously mentioned Clash of the Titans or The Odyssey or any other Greek myth, this one ends up being about the hero’s quest. The goal is freedom and a return to normality and the obstacles are numerous, both that which is tangible and that which is not. The authors of this story throw everything they can into our hero’s paths and slowly, but surely, they make their way to what they perceive as their eventual goal. While you can still find elements of Greek myth in many of today’s comic books and from almost every publisher, none do a straight up fantastical tale such as this one does. This is what makes Olympus so good. It is everything you love about those classic myths told with a tried and true theme and done so in a manner that hearkens back to the best of those stories.
Butch Guice, an excellent artist in every sense of the word does some of the best work of his career on this book. There are no capes or cowls to be found, only beautiful women, rugged men and the dangerous denizens of an ancient and forgotten land. The man’s skills really shine through on every page of the book and whether it was the story set forth by Grimminger and Johns or the mythical monstrosities found herein, Guice let his imagination fly through his pencils and for readers, it is an exceptional treat. While the story is compelling, filled with great action scenes and a lot of fun, overall there is nothing new here to be seen though that does not stop our creators from telling the absolute best story that they can. Any fan of sword and sorcery, monsters, adventure or any one of these creators will enjoy it immensely and it will leave you wondering why there is no sequel and why there are not more books like this being produced today.