Let me start by stating this up-front and simply: Hammer of the Gods: Mortal Enemies
is one of the most entertaining one-shots i've read in a long, long while.
Maybe it's because i've been fascinated by Mythology (Norse, Greek, Roman, Egyptian; you name it) for as long as i can remember. There's just something really cool about stories of Gods weighed down w/ some of the same troubles us mere mortals are saddled w/ in our brief lives. Jealousy, deciept, treachory, torture, lies, lust. Revenge. You know, all the good stuff; and in very "big", larger than life fashion with colossal implications. My oh my.
Oeming is obviously a fan himself. After reading Hammer of the Gods: Mortal Enemies
i'm doubly sure this story could only have been created by a true Norse Mythology fan. And what a classic story it is my friends.
A mortal child (Modi) is blessed by one of the Valkeries (you know those winged horse riding vixens that carry fallen Norse warriors to the afterlife in Valhalla?) with God-like Powers. Of course there is one small catch (isn't there always?); if the child is ever to grow up and weild a weapon of any kind, his soul will be immediately forfeit (along w/ any chances of eternal life in Valhalla). Nasty.
Modi grows into a strapping young man with enormous strength and vitality. He eventually begins to feel the call of the wild and heads out on a journey to play the hero across the land (sans weapons of course; but who needs weapons when you can level trees and carve boats w/ your bare hands?), returning many years later to find that a terrible tragedy has befallen his once peaceful village. Frost Giants have come down from the mountains and laid waste to his entire clan (including his beloved parents).
Extremely unhappy at what he believes to be a lapse in protection by the Gods (especially Thorr who he has revered his entire life), Modi swears to storm the very halls of Valhalla and exact his revenge on the Gods themselves. My oh my - this has all the trappings of a classic Mythological story no?
The remaining chapters of Hammer of the Gods: Mortal Enemies
detail Modi's search for the gates of Valhalla (gaining and losing friends and enemies along the way), and his eventual confrontation w/ the very God's that live there.
I would love to write and write about what happens next, but fear i'd be giving away too much. Let's just say that Valhalla (home of the God's and the great mortal soul retirement site in the sky) is in big trouble because it's head General, Thorr, has slumped into a deep depression following a mysterious loss of power within his mystical hammer Mjolnir and the Frost Giants have attacked. What part can a mere mortal (Modi) play in saving Valhalla from a Frost Giant's army's seige, and who's behind this mess (Loki)?
So... what are my overall impressions? Oeming's early work here is fantastic. The art is just what you'd expect from him - bold, sketchy, and simple (easy on the eyes). Powerful multi-panel/page layouts and great overall vibe. The story and dialogue are fast-paced (this one is def a page-turner) and you'll probably end up reading it twice through (like i did) before shelving it.
I hate to use such a simple word to describe it but the book is just plain fun (and not necessarily due anything overly comedic, even though there are a few chuckle moments for sure). Some great action (including epic battles you'd expect), and even a touch of romance. I only had one problem w/ it and that's that i wish it would have ended a few pages sooner... Why you ask?SPOILERSPersonally i would have rather Modi stayed dead after making the ultimate sacrifice to save Valhalla (as a mortal to boot). Something changed inside me about how i felt about the ending when he was risen by Thorr. Went from a GREAT ending to just a good one IMO in just that moment.END
Great read. Can't wait for Oeming's upcoming "Ares: God of War" mini (and i've heard rumors there are other Hammer of the Gods one-shots?). A
.PS - Pick up the trade (it's in great color). The Screen shots i was able to find around were in B&W only so i'm assuming the original floppies were un-colored. The colorization of this novel did WONDERS for it IMO. Check it.It was all over when...