Advance Review: Even Gods Can Die In `Fallen’ #1
by Tom Smithyman
Most of the gods of ancient myology have been cast down to Earth, but we’re not quite sure why. While there is plenty of action and intrigue in this first issue, most readers will need some more explanation to know why they should care about these heavenly characters.
In Fallen, the gods live among us.
Cast down from the Ether for some unknown reason, Zeus, Odin, Loki, Apollo and their like are living the lives of mere mortals in 1986’s New York City. The Greek gods are big on Manhattan nightclubs while the Norse deities are relegated to biker bars in the Bronx. When one of the gods is killed by a mysterious being, all bets are off.
Writer Matt Ringel crafts an interesting mystery filled with somewhat familiar characters and plenty of family drama. Adding to the intrigue are several drug-dealing gods as well as Casper Clay, a human ward of Zeus, who is imbued with special powers.
The biggest issue with this introductory chapter is the lack of exposition. Instead of adding to the story’s mystery, the dearth of information about the gods’ expulsion from Asgard, Mt. Olympus and other heavenly places is confusing. The reader is made to accept that most gods were cast down to Earth – we’re told, not shown, this in a brief text introduction – but are given no explanation as to why. We also don’t know why only some deities were cast down and why they can’t contact those that weren’t. It’s all very messy and confusing, and it makes it difficult for the reader to care much about these characters.
Artist Henry Ponciano does an interesting job of mixing mythology with reality. Zeus’ apartment building, for example, has some uncharacteristic Greek columns at its entrance. And each of the gods are familiar in their own way. We don’t need Zeus holding a thunderbolt to know he’s the king of the Greek gods. Similarly, Loki is depicted as a badass biker dude.
Too much exposition can slow down a story’s flow and lose readers in the details. But in this case, not enough explanation can leave the audience equally flummoxed and wondering why they should care. The limited series has a few more issues to explain more of those whys and make sure readers stay glued to the page.
Fallen #1 will be available for purchase on February 22, 2023.