Review: Poseidon is one of the few Greek gods who doesn't have a physical presence in mythology. We usually hear of him by the raging waters or his monstrous children, but never the actual god himself. The narrative style of his graphic novel follows this same train of thought.
Instead of an overarching theme which was featured in the previous Olympian graphic novels that I read, Poseidon reads more episodic. He begins his story of how he came to rule the sea after the war of the Titans. There is palpable resentment and tension as Poseidon keeps a tally of the wrongs done by his siblings, particularly Athena who favored Odysseus rather than her brother (uncle?). He tells the gory stories of how the clever Odysseus injured Polyphemus and Theseus managing to survive the Minatour. While he may appear to receive the shorter end of the stick, Poseidon knows he can cause significant amount of damage and does so in several tales.
Unlike the other Greek deities that O'Connor drew, I didn't like how Poseidon was drawn. He looks like a mash up between Kung Fu master with his long, wispy mustache and Conan the Barbarian on steroids. I didn't picture him to be like that in my mind.
While the plot jumps from story to story, it is easy to follow in the crisply drawn sequential panels. I do like how O'Connor makes his subject relatable by today's standard's of action heroes. While this may not be my favorite book in the Olympians series, I did find it enjoyable.
Rating: 3.5 stars
Words of Caution: There is strong, bloody violence on the PG-13 scale. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.
If you like this book try: The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds, Theseus Battles the Minator by Gary Jeffrey
Review: I was really curious to see how O'Connor would spotlights the goddess of beauty and love in a kid friendly graphic novel. I thought he made a clever decision in emphasizing on power instead of sexuality in this solid addition to his Olympians series. Aphrodite's three attendants, the Charites, narrate a recap of the origin of the Titans and Olympians, leading up to the goddess's birth and highlighting that Aphrodite is essentially Eros embodied. After a series of shorter myths, various affairs and the introduction of Aphrodite's capricious son (Eros aka Cupid), the graphic novel concentrates on the beauty contest of the goddesses Aphrodite, Hera and Athena, judged by the mortal Paris. It was really cool to see how he problematic female stereotypes be pointed out by the goddesses themselves. They find the contest "beneath" them and "debasing" even while participating and re-frame the contest as one of power instead of beauty- each offering Paris either wealth, being a hero, or a chance to have one of the most beautiful women in the world. While there might not be a lot of action in this volume of the Olympians, there is a lot more tongue in cheek humor and great one-liners sprinkled in the story. This graphic novel shows Aphrodite's power in femininity and sexuality without being overt and crude.
Rating: 4 stars
Words of Caution: There are sexual situations alluded to in the book that happen off the page which older children make understand. There is also some crude humor in the graphic novel as well. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.
If you like this book try: Aphrodite: Goddess of Love and Beauty by Teri Temple