Writers: Tony Pires & Curt Pires
Artist: Alex Diotto
Colors: Dee Cunniffe
Letters: Micah Myers
Design: Ryan Ferrier
Olympia #1 is described as a must have for any fan of Jack Kirby and Steven Spielberg. It was this description that drew me to the title since I consider myself a huge Kirby fan and enjoy most Spielberg films. While interesting and enjoyable I cannot say that Olympia #1 lives up to this hype…. Yet.
Olympia is the story of a young boy, Elon, who is a latch key kid who escapes his life of being bullied at school by losing himself into the pages of super hero comic books. His favorite among these is the tale of Olympia, king of New Olympus, wielder of the Everflow who finds himself in a conflict with his brother Vilayne. Olympia and his backstory are an obvious homage to the early Lee/Kirby issues of Thor and the rich history of everyone’s favorite Asgardian. Olympia #1 begins with Elon reading about the twilight of the gods as New Olympus is on the cusp of collapse and Olympia looks to be the last ruler of the kingdom. In a perfect comic cliffhanger, the issue Elon is reading ends with a promise of an epic battle between the king and his would be usurper. It’s with this cliffhanger that the tale of Olympia really kicks in as the hero of the comic, wounded and near death, crashes to earth. Elon discovers his hero and sets about to help Olympia recover and be restored to his godlike stature. Yet Olympia didn’t come to earth alone, as he is followed by not only mindless monsters but villains of a godlier manner. This is enough for most first issues but luckily we also get a nice slice of life story of an isolated teen who has lost his father and whose mother works long hours, leaving Elon alone and to his own devices which apparently means hiding out in the forest reading comics late into the night. We see that Elon is bullied at school, in a subplot that will no doubt have a wonderful payoff later, but also has the support of some great teachers…. Or at least someone who may be a teacher. Yet Olympia #1 is all build up, and even for an extra-sized issue, there is more potential for payoff then actual payoff, and that may be the biggest disappointment in Olympia #1 is that I wanted it to be more.
Olympia #1 is very much a love letter to the superhero comics of our youth but also a personal tale for writer Curt Pires who no doubt includes a lot of autobiographical details in Elon that humanizes the character from the very beginning of the issue. Elon is a character like so many preteen characters in comics today, a loner who is bullied, too often left alone and parentless (by work and death) who is seeking a normalcy in the works of fiction. I will be interested in how Elon and Olympia’s relationship will evolve, since this issue does very little to define it and if feels like it should be and will probably be the core of this five-issue mini-series. Olympia #1 is also interestingly co-written by Curt’s father Tony, who was battling cancer when the series was written and it will be interesting to see how this interaction and situation will impact the stories narrative going forward. Alex Diotto’s art must be commended as he does an outstanding job of making a noted difference between Olympia’s comic world and when he appears in Elon’s world. The comic world of Olympia #1 feels like a Kirby book without aping Kirby. The pages and panels are influenced by the work of Jack Kirby but doesn’t feel like an imitator but rather as an artist being inspired by the great master that Kirby was to the comic medium. Diotto then shifts his style to the world Elon inhabits and while Olympia is enormous in size the rest of the inhabitants look normal, which creates a great dynamic as the issue continues and is one of the high points of Olympia #1.
Verdict: Trade Wait! Olympia #1 has the potential to be a wonderful mini-series that is both an homage to stories of Kirby and Spielberg with a very personal tale interweaved within it. I just feel that this mini-series will read better as one collected tale so I will be reading the rest of Olympia when released as a trade paperback in 2020.