4 star

Apollo: The Brilliant One

The Olympians Book 8

By George O’Connor

ISBN 978-1-62672-015-2

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott


For lovers of Greek mythology, Apollo: The Brilliant One is not going to offer anything new to your folklore except, perhaps, for a change of view. Tracing the most “Greek” of all the deities, George O’Connor, exposes seven tales of the Brilliant one, Apollo of Olympus. The tales are by no means unusual for Greek mythos, but the stories he chooses resonate and impact the reader hard. Shining an illuminating (both figuratively and literally) light on the sun god through the words of the Oracles of Delphi, Apollo’s chosen representatives on the earthly plane, O’Connor manages to keep sometimes dry myths interesting and invocative.

Plot wise, this is a pastiche of seven unconnected tales. Told by the muses, in pairs sometimes, each tale is a reflection of the muse(s) telling the tale, as well as the tale itself. This connects the tales in an awkward 1001 Arabian Nights feel, without the building tension. The tales ebb and flow with only the muses holding it together. Each tale in and of itself is well written; the dialogue, though, seems somewhat forced – as if trying to cry for more artistic license. The pacing of the stories also is a little stilted, probably due to the fact that there is no real overhanging story arc. Bearing in mind, that, Apollo: The Brilliant One is a nice easy read, without having to put too much thought into. Graphic novel format, for this book, at least, is its one saving grace: it lies in its artwork.

The art in Apollo: The Brilliant One is simply fantastic. Subtle nuances are aplenty and each figure, each form takes on a life of its own. From the opening vistas of the inside of Delphi to its panoramic overviews; from hideous, mammoth, intelligent snakes to the arrows Apollo shoots; from the passive tale to the most action packed; the art remains elegant, and sophisticated.  Delicate lines and open space doesn’t hurt the eye and the lavish coloring is a wonder to behold, giving it almost a Jean Giraud (Mobius) like feel.  I almost felt the wings of reptilian Azarch creatures, as I marveled at a skillfully drawn picture of Apollo in his chariot being drawn by the mighty swans. The art engages the reader, and sets the pace, almost independently of the narrative. It skillfully guides but doesn’t push the reader into turning the page. It’s that good.

For fans of Greek mythology, the movies Thor and such or for readers who are interested in a different take on classic tales (there’s extensive author’s notes in the back), this is probably your book. For lovers of paneled art, this is a must have for your shelf. The book may be the 8th in the Olympians saga, but it stands on its own. If you ever wanted to know more about Apollo: The Brilliant One this graphic novel is  a good place to start.