Graphic Novel Review: Supergod
15:40 09 March 2012
ACCLAIMED comics writer Warren Ellis is known for his big concept ideas and super-science, and this latest release is no exception, imagining a world where the global arms race was fought using man-made superhumans, with devastating consequences.
Told in flashback by one of the scientists responsible for the British effort from the banks of a burning Thames in a devastated London, it reveals the original good intentions behind the creation post-human beings gifted with almost messianic abilities was swiftly corrupted by the military and politicians.
As each nation-state shapes its own superman, they find that actually keeping control over these beings proves increasingly difficult, as they have their own agendas based on programming and personality.
The almost incomprehensive clashes between these “Supergods” result in countries being destroyed, eco-systems irrevocably disrupted, populations wiped out and the apocalypse looming. The end of the world is imminent, and all because we wanted to be rescued by human-shaped saviours with powers beyond imagining.
In a similar way to Ellis’ earlier work Ministry of Space, Supergod is presented very much as historical document, with little in the way of individual characters beyond the narrator, and as such loses that “everyman” perspective which a book like this probably needed.
It’s almost too big a story to be told without some sort of grounding in reality, with the scale of what is happening eventually lost after pages of destruction and slaughter, and leaving the reader somewhat detached by its conclusion. Fortunately the detailed artwork of Garrie Gastonny brings a necessary realism to the visuals, which helps sell the concepts to an extent.
Ellis has lost none of his edge when it comes to coming up with inventive and unusual comics, but he needs to remember some of the basics in storytelling as well.