The Goddess of War, Volume One
Lauren R. Weinstein, writer/artist
PictureBox, June 2008
$12.95 (they’re pretty big pages, to be fair)
The nice thing about The Goddess of War is that it feels very comic-booky. For one thing, the subject matter is a little purple–it’s about a valkyrie who was so good at her job that she was made the Goddess of War for all humanity, and when she’s not busy heeding the prayers of the violent and deranged and helping mankind reach ever higher and bloodier levels of slaughter, she’s getting drunk off the blood of virgins, mouthing off to her celestial overlords, or having sex with the famed Apache warlord Cochise, whose tragedy-of-errors war with American frontiersmen occupies about half the book. The stereotypical “New Yorker short story” it isn’t.
Then there’s the presentation, hefty 10″ x 15.5″ pages filled to bursting with Weinstein’s muscular character designs and rough-hewn line. Weinstein’s panel borders frequently slash upward or downward across the page, reinforcing the sense that there’s a massive expanse of comics in front of us and she’s filling every inch of it. And there’s something pulpy about the drab greens she’s using for color. Even when she pauses for several 19th-century-style illustrative etchings, the intensity and starkness of their comparatively fine linework just makes you think of an artist marking the hell out of a page. It’s like the whole comic rolls up its sleeves and gets down and dirty. That price point could still be daunting, of course, especially when you note that this is only “Volume One” of an I don’t know how long series, but I for one didn’t feel gypped–you’ve got fantasy, science fiction, erotica, history, war, humor, and drunk-hipster comics all in one big throbbing package.