"Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Action Lab Entertainment
Written and illustrated by Steve Bryant
Colored by Jim Nelson
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 23rd, 2016
The famed, raven-haired adventurer, Athena Voltaire is back to tackle supernatural cults and punch Nazis right in the mouth. This time around she's dealing with the Volcano Goddess, although I'm not entirely sure what that is just yet. The bulk of this issue is spent reintroducing you to the character and the 1930s world she lives in.
Writer / artist Steve Bryant does a tremendous job with the title character. She encapsulates ideal qualities of a leading lady. She's smart, sexy, confident, and more than capable of holding her own. Athena dives head first into action without hesitation. When a winged gargoyle hatches from a ancient and mysterious egg, she doesn't tremble in fear or run away. She hops in her plane and flies up to take the beast out in spectacular fashion.
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The design for the character is pitch perfect. The first half of the issue has her outfitted in her adventuring gear, looking like a cross between Indiana Jones and the Rocketeer. This is what a supernatural warrior should wear (Vampirella, I'm looking at you). Later, she transitions to evening wear and looks absolutely stunning. In many ways, Athena Voltaire is like a female version of James Bond, but without all those STDs.
Although she's gorgeous, Athena doesn't use her sex appeal to get what she wants. In fact, men are barely on her radar. She uses them when needed, but more often than not, she doesn't even require their help. She gets out of a harrowing death trap in the opening pages of this issue on her own. Her male colleague is little more than a sidekick, clinging to her to avoid certain death.
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Bryant captures a sense of adventure in every panel. The pacing is done well, building up the excitement and then calming things down for a scene or two of exposition to move the story along. This is mainly getting the characters into place for where the plot takes us next, so it's largely setup, but you can't deny the pulpy fun coursing through each page.
Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess is a great jumping on point for the character. You get a quick breakdown of her life and what she's capable of without sitting through blocks of text explaining a backstory. You don't need it here. Just open the comic and enjoy. If you like games like Uncharted or Tomb Raider, you'll dig this book.