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Book Review < Back

Orion

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Masamune Shirow
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Commentary

Ever wanted to read one of those big, mythical tales with battling gods and the fate of the cosmos hanging in the balance filled with mad and beautiful ideas culled from religion and anthropological detail alongside the big explosions and massive carnage?

Well, you're in luck.

Here's a manic, funny science fantasy set in an empire filled with warring magician clans and ambitious court wizards, where a young noblewoman named Seska uncovers a plot by her father's archenemy to discredit him as he tries to summon the god Susano to thwart the empire's plan to eliminate Evil and achieve Universal Goodness. Has her father gone mad? Why would he want to prevent the banishment of Bad Karma from the world? And why does everyone fear the ancient scroll that possesses Seska and makes her the most powerful embodiment of Magick in the empire?

And Susano, the god of destruction, thinks the elimination of all Evil from the universe is a bad idea and agrees to help prevent the experiment and a noble princess' sacrifice. Susano, arrogant, bad-tempered, gratuitously violent, and with terrible impulse control, is a lone god battling an entire empire that can call on pantheons of other gods to fight him. What you get is all Heaven and Hell breaking loose as minor deities and demons from Japanese and Chinese mythology are summoned to battle the raging Susano, with even cameos from Lovecraftian ancient ones and rapid-fire theses about theology and Buddhist spirituality in a story whose execution is best described as utterly berserk.

Did I mention this is funny? The god of destruction is like Bugs Bunny with a bad hangover and a body count. Death and rebirth are played for laughs, sugarcoating for meditations on the nature of Good and Evil, Dharma and Karma in a jolly foxtrot dance.

Call it Pantheistic Slapstick. Trust me, it's good for you.

-- Adi Tantimedh

 
Adi Tantimedh is a screenwriter and filmmaker who writes comics when he has the time. He has recently completed JLA: The Age of Wonder for DC Comics, and written and directed Open House, a short film for Studio FP in Italy. His current projects include the forthcoming Blackshirt for Moonstone Books, Anna Passenger, a novel being serialised on Opi8.com, and various film and television projects.

 


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