Graphic Novel News
& Views
Home LinkFeatures LinkReviewsReleaseListAboutUs
Avigon: Gods & Demons
Review by James W. Powell

Story
Avigon: Gods and Demons cover
Avigon: Gods & Demons

Story
Che Gilson
 
art
Jimmie Robinson

Publisher
Image Comics
 
Format
Softcover collection with additional new material
 
Publish Date
June 29, 2005
 
Cover Price
$19.95
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I had absolutely no expectations when I opened up Avigon: Gods & Demons and began to read. I was immediately impressed by the style, which has a beautiful Tim Burton meets anime thing going for it. Yet while the art certainly grabbed my attention, I wasn't so sure about Che Gilson's story. The more I read, however, the more I liked it.

Avigon is possibly the best clockwork ever created. Consider her a nearly perfect robot. But Pulsifer, Avigon's creator and the Master Court Clockmaker of Emyrean, knows that the more real the clockwork, the more it takes on human characteristics. For Avigon, she realizes she wants something more from her life, so she embarks on a journey of discovery.

On the surface, Avigon is just another science fiction morality tale about robots: Are they to be treated as objects or as something more? This layer of the story works fine, if not particularly captivating. Watching Pulsifer face off against her young apprentice, Kazreal, for the Mast Clockmaker position is certainly enough to keep the story moving, but it doesn't fully capture the "fun" aspect of science fiction, nor does it fully embody the darkness that could be inherent to a story like this.

Where this story lacks in action it certainly makes up for it in the undercurrent themes and emotions. Avigon can be considered a coming of age story disguised in the trappings of science fiction and fantasy. As Avigon embarks on her journey of self discovery, the story truly comes to life. Along the way, she meets interesting characters: She finds love (and more) in the form of philosophy student Lukan Roth, and she runs into danger disguised as love, a fitting symbol for Avigon's emotional journey. She goes through several rights of passage, and the key to the story is summed up in how not only she comes through the other side, but the startling reaction of her creator.

I enjoyed Avigon: Gods & Monsters, but I think it's not quite as powerful emotionally as it could've been. The story is certainly there, but there's something holding it back from being masterfully presented. It's possible that the characters didn't speak to me because of the science fiction surroundings in which they were placed, but it's more likely that I wanted more depth all around, both for the characters as well as for their surroundings.

Art

Avigon Review: Interior ImageI was really taken by surprise by Jimmie Robinson's art. The tall, thin, lithe forms of the characters are very stylish. Consider it a perfect mixture of goth and anime. The world of Avigon takes on a Tim Burtonesque look and feel, which gives the story a wonderful otherworldly character. Robinson uses shadows and the black space between panels expertly. I was particularly impressed with the "reverse silhouettes" that helped amplify the action and the insets that focus on the emotion of the current scene. I could actually hear the silence.

Perhaps the only drawback to Robinson's art is that each page is a bit static. Sure, each page and each panel is rather attractive and showcases the key emotions of the scene, most aren't particularly dynamic. This isn't a major problem since this isn't an all-out action story, but it does come into play a few times.

On a side note, I was impressed with the novel idea of using clock faces to indicate the page numbers. It's certainly a minor detail, but one that added to the overall style and presentation of the graphic novel.

Bonus Features
Avigon: Gods & Demons features a short but interesting introduction by Voltaire, creator of Oh My Goth! and Chi-Chian as well as an author's note and an artist's note. The book also contains some very nicely done character sketches, which act as the chapter breaks.
Final Words

The art is magnificent in Avigon: Gods & Demons, and the story has some heart. But in the end, it falls just short of hitting the mark. It's definitely a worthy read, but at just under $20, it's hard to fully recommend it to every fan. If you're a fan of Tim Burton's films or if you're into the goth style of science fiction, I believe you'll find something here you can enjoy. But if you're looking for something a little more typical in your science fiction and fantasy tales, you might want to look elsewhere.

Mildly Recommended


James has written for such fine web sites as DVDtalk, Broken Frontier, and Paperback Reader. He lives in Denver with his lovely wife and two cats who wake him up at 3 a.m.
Home | Features | Reviews | Release List | About Us