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Olympians: Hermes: Tales of the Trickster, by George O’Connor

Review copy provided by First Second Books.

I suppose there’s some kind of outside chance that not every comics artist wants to draw Argus Panoptes. But really, this is one of the characters that has the cool visuals, and O’Connor plays it to the max. Argus is part of the ongoing framing device in this volume, so he has plenty of chance to do a lot of different poses as O’Connor cycles through different aspects of Hermes–his infancy, his son Pan, his assistance with the fight against Typhon.

This is the tenth in a long series of comics about the Greek gods, with recurring style and references, treating the entire family of Olympians as a cast to be worked with and re-deployed. A series without arc plot is a great trick if you can manage to keep reader interest: no one has to have read anything else to enjoy a comic about Hermes if that’s the one they happen to be interested in first, but one volume easily does lead to another. The gods of Egypt make an appearance in this volume, in a weird moment of syncretism that is not entirely to my taste, but it’s an entertaining enough work and a reasonable introduction to the subject matter. My godkids love to page through these, and I don’t feel bad about leaving them around on an end-table when they’re visiting, giving them a quick introduction to Baucis and Philemon before they’re hip-deep in Haydn and need to know what’s up.

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