Being a dedicated fan of Jonathan Hickman, I’ll buy pretty much anything with his name on it these days. Including this, a series he created for Avatar and co-wrote the first six issues with Mike Costa. I can only imagine that the company’s Editor In Chief, William Christensen, offered Hickman the chance to come up with the craziest idea he could and it would be published. Which is how we wound up with an ultra-violent “Battle Royale of the Gods” as the likes of Zeus, Odin, Quetzalcoatl, and Anubis have returned to claim our world for themselves. After meeting little resistance from the armies of man, the gods soon turn their fury on each other as the members of each pantheon seek to put themselves above their fellow deities. One cannot count out the pluckiness of the human race and their science. In order to face down this new threat, a group of scientists pool their resources to find a way of creating their own gods as the body count rises.
Even if he is only co-writing things here, there are flashes of Hickman’s cleverness to be found throughout this volume. Zeus’ remarks about humans turning the world into an even worse place than the one he left as the god regards the Sistine Chapel effectively make the title’s point and agenda quite clear. Seeing the network anchorman go from delivering the news to the latest religious proclamations -- with equal deadpan deliveries -- is good for a laugh, as are his advisories for how you can protect yourself in the coming apocalypse. The problem is that all of the funny and imaginative bits are offered up in service of a plot that hinges on these gods killing humanity and each other in brutally over-the-top ways that you would only see at Avatar. While the subplot about the scientists creating their own gods does bear interesting fruit, I can’t see it going anywhere interesting in light of the unrestrained carnage that makes up the bulk of this volume. File this one under “less than the sum of its parts.”