Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods #1 review

Across the world, the old gods are rising. Demonic deities loom over the streets of Tokyo. In Cairo, war goddess Sekhmet is siccing cats on people. Somewhere in Iceland Skadi steals the prey of hunters. And in Philadelphia, Apollo is causing chaos by sharing his gift of prophecy.

On Mount Olympus, the new ruler of the Greek gods, Hera, plots with the wizard Shazam.

And it seems he’s right as Hermes brings the news that a shrine has been raised to Skadi to assuage her rage. That’s good news for the gods, who reckon a bit of respect from the mortals will increase their powers. It’s time humans remembered their place in the pecking order…

In Washington DC, Wonder Woman and friends Etta Candy, Wonder Girl and Cheetah Barbara Minerva fear they don’t have the forces to take on the gods of different pantheons.

Is that lasso humming? I like that

Suffice to say, Diana’s meeting with Hera doesn’t go well… the Queen of Olympus having apparently murdered her husband Zeus, Diana’s deadbeat deity dad, isn’t a great sign. What’s more, Diana’s mother Hippolyta, recently ascended to the pantheon, is nowhere to be seen.

Back in Washington DC, at the Potomac river, a mysterious figure is fishing.

Intriguing. And that about sums up this opening chapter of a Wonder Woman/Shazam event. The title evokes Eighties crossover War of the Gods, but hopefully this won’t be the editorially bungled mess that was. At the very least, this debut instalment gets it right. Writer G Willow Wilson’s globetrotting opening gives us an idea of the stakes, including a cameo by Billy Batson presaging the arrival of the Big Red Cheese. The gods comes across as suitably scary, especially Hera – think Alexis Carrington in the clouds. And artist Cian Tormey, fresh from his stint on Superman: Son of Kal-El, does a bang up job of capturing her malevolent hauteur, aided by ever-excellent colourist Jordie Bellaire. And I’m dying to know who the mystery person in the hood is… comics being a non-audio medium we don’t even know if it’s a man or woman. Any theories?

Another question – when did the wizard Shazam, now fixed in movie mode and, Wikipedia tells me, going by Mamaragan, which makes him an Aussie – become a bad guy?

Tormey and Bellaire also nail the opening scene, the artist choreographing the burgeoning chaos, Bellaire showing us Apollo’s magic with a touch of pink. All the scenes of no-good gods look great in their own way, including witch queen Hecate, she is seriously freaky. I’m also impressed by the glowing orange hall of Hera, with deities and monsters milling around. And the cats of Cairo are soooo cute.

Pat Brosseau’s letters are just the ticket, neat, accurate and not drawing too much attention to themselves.

A back-up tale by current Wonder Woman writers Michael W Conrad and Becky Cloonan sees the Amazons perturbed by pair of male vloggers who have found Themyscira. It doesn’t end well for the pair. As for Queen Nubia and pals, they receive bad news from a familiar, if unidentified, figure.

The script is tight, while the art by penciller Alitha Martinez and inkers Mark Morales and John Livesay is lovely, especially as coloured by Alex Guimarães – the tutti-frutti skies, in particular, are a delight. And Becca Carey puts thought into the lettering – check out, for example, the way she indicates one panicked vlogger being out of breath.

Guillem March gives us a cracking cover, with a terrifying Wizard and casually evil Hera looming over Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel. The muted colours are perfect.

If you’ve tried the Lazarus Planet books and not been impressed overall, I’d say give this one a try – it’s really rather good.

9 thoughts on “Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods #1 review

  1. I think the last time the Wizard appeared he broke bad. He makes little impact one me since they ruined him so I can’t be sure.

    Loved that Diana is still Jupiter’s daughter. If nothing else, that change to the origin opens way more possibilities than clay did. ‘Sides, it pissed me off Rucka took time to undo a brilliant run as if he were the big dog in charge of Diana instead just telling his boring story that was neither negatively or positively affected by whether Diana had a dad or a beach as a co-parent. (And those stories where magic affected Diana because of clay origins stands because a paranoid figure of myth like Polly would have employed magic to make sure Diana’s body’s reactions were what everyone expected them to be if she were half clay)

    The art was nice. Wilson is a good writer. Too bad I’ll learn about part two from your review. I haven’t followed a crossover into books I don’t usually read for years. Besides, I heard great things about the Diana in Asgard arc and started reading it. The arc was excellent. Then she came back to Earth and the stories that followed sucked so hard it could take paint off walls.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh nice one, Hippolyte using magic to Diana is indeed totally in character.

      I’m so stuck in the Bronze Age that when I see ‘the Wizard’ I think Secret Society of Super-Villains.


  2. Sorry, give me the old, white-bearded Shazam any day over this new version.
    Makes me a little worried about Waid’s upcoming run if DC/WB is pushing the “synergy” with the films.
    It’s like Marvel deciding Agatha Harkness now has to be young because of the Wanda/Vision TV show.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Since I don’t want to be one of “those” commenters and want to get things right, I was reminded that the new version of the Wizard Shazam dates back to the New52. So actually it pre-dates the films and the films took from the comics, albeit the newer ones, in this case.

    Liked by 1 person

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