Artemis: Wild Goddess of the Hunt
The Olympians, Book #9
By George O’Connor
After Apollo: The Brilliant One, it comes as no surprise that George O’Connor would move to Apollo’s sister Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt; it is one of the more common transitions in Greek mythology. A calculating, sometimes cruel goddess, Artemis’ story is worth the wait. Full of all the spectacular feats and quests, vows and gods interfering in the ways of man are all depicted here, from a well-researched point of view. There is no slouching O’Connor here as he dives deep into the mysteries of the Greek mythos. Portions of the book are cited in the back ‘notes’ as coming from other books in the Olympians series or classic Greek verse (and as a stand-by, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, a staple in high schools).
I’ll admit it. Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt is much more reader friendly than its predecessor. O’Connor has finally found the right mix and balance between expository, storytelling and reader response. The story, told from the people around her, but notably Hera, is both informative and emotional at the same time, shedding a very human light on a larger than life female figure; and Artemis is the embodiment of the modern woman: wild, free, unfettered and not tied down by any man. O’Connor writes this strong women character well, encapsulating power and self-confidence and toning down sexuality or rather freeing the character of Artemis of sexuality. Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt skillfully captures one of the more elusive goddesses of the Greek mythos. Even the primary narrator, Hera, has her problems with Artemis (born from Zeus and Leto, a human who along with Apollo and Artemis were brought up in Olympus) but even she maintains a neutral stance throughout the tale.
The artwork complements the story admirably. Graceful lines and skillful inks grace each page and lends itself well to the subject matter at hand. The art is meticulous and planned. almost stale in some spots, but overall it suits the story. The colors are muted and toned down, playing in the blue and purple spectrum, giving a calm, serene (but muted) look to the graphic novel. Bright color only entered in the wilds of the world where greens and reds and earth tones occur. This is especially prominent in the telling of Orion’s tale. Orion who vied for Artemis love, engaged in the hunt until becoming the first man to be included in Artemis’ hunting party, however, his love was rebutted. Artemis had pledged to Zeus at a young age what she wanted for her life and that included neither a husband nor the touch of a man. The colors literally explode off the page during this part of the story, and the vibrancy runs with Orion’s emotions. Kudos must be given to O’Connor for a brilliant use of color that accentuated the artwork and the story immensely. Artemis: Goddess of the Hunt is no slouch in the art department.
For those with an interest in classical Greek mythology, and the legend of Artemis in particular, Artemis: The Goddess of the Hunt is a solid read. A strong female lead, and classical Greek drama pave the way for an interesting ride. Both the story and art are well worth the admission fee and although a bit dry in some places it is probably one of the best of Olympian books in the series. It is well worth the time and effort to read and there are group study questionnaires and appendices containing group notes, further reading s and deity charts. Anyone with a passion for Greek myth, high adventure and the mythological would be prime candidates for this graphic novel.