Title: American Gods.
Story-Arc: The Moment of the Storm.
Writer(s): Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell.
Artist(s): Scott Hampton.
Colourist(s): Jennifer T. Lange & SCOTT HAMPTON.
Letterer(s): Rick Parker.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Release Date: April 23rd 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Fantasy.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously in the American Gods (2017-2019) comic book series:
American Gods (Vol. 1): Shadows by Neil Gaiman.
American Gods (Vol. 2): My Ainsel by Neil Gaiman.
So often we find ourselves unable to understand the world around us. Fear of the unknown has led us to seek answers in supernatural forces and it is through a strong belief in their existence that we find some respite, enough to move forward with a newfound conviction, one envisioned as a safe haven where our lives might be in goods hands. Completing their comic book adaptation is the creative team of Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, and Scott Hampton, who return for the final chapter where Shadow has to come to terms with what he has to do before the god war begins. While his investment in the cause was inexistent from the beginning, he has always been a pawn to a greater scheme. As he journeys through America and meets strange individuals who turned out to be forgotten gods, he quickly grasped his role in the upcoming war. But what could a mere mortal do in the middle of such powerful individuals? The answer lies in his trip to a land between life and death as he figures out what needs to be said and done for these deities to finally decide between peace and war.
What is American Gods: The Moment of the Storm about? Picking up where the story was left off in American Gods: My Ainsel, the war between the New and Old Gods is now knocking on everyone’s door as the inevitable confrontation that will determine the faith of humanity becomes Shadow’s reality. Mysteriously drawn into the intergenerational conflict of mythological ideals by Wednesday when Shadow had hit rock bottom in his life, the latter is now condemned to a destiny where his actions will set in motion the ultimate climax to this god war. In a trek to the center of America for a sacred exchange that will lead him to his life-changing spiritual journey, Shadow will discover the only resolution that was planned from the very beginning by known acquaintances. Although the faith of humanity lies in his hands, his final moments will also determine what he will become through a quest for identity and purpose.
“The darkness that he entered this time was deep and lit by a single star. And it was final.” — Neil Gaiman
This third and final volume adapting the critically-acclaimed and award-winning novel of the same name by writer Neil Gaiman brilliantly captures the final act of the novel as Shadow embarks on his spiritual journey towards uncovering his purpose in this war. While the previous volume deliberately and greatly slowed down the pace with little peripeteia to work with, this chapter looks to tie up loose ends and to properly explore the premise of the novel while also interlooping the protagonist’s personal odyssey towards discovering his purpose in life. It is through the exploration of dreams, traditions, and mythologies, often jumbled together in erratically, that writer Neil Gaiman’s ideas find their essence. His story finally exposes an idea infused with a reflection on society’s wavering beliefs in divine entities while also relativizing their immortality. While the novel gave the reader the chance to draw parallels with immigration, this comic book adaptation seemed to focus much more on divinity in today’s society.
The story loyally translates the novel and offers no additional twists to the original novel, but it is the artwork by Scott Hampton that remains the main attraction and serves as a fantastic visual treat, a unique style that you’ve likely never seen before. Ideally read back-to-back with the previous two volumes, after having consumed the novel as well, this comic book adaptation is a stellar and artistically-authentic companion to the novel that offers us an otherworldly experience where the artwork is nothing more than a gateway towards understanding theological concepts introduced in the novel. At first glance, there are many design flaws that deter from fully appreciating the style, from ugly facial designs to rough outlining with little details, but the artwork works in its depiction of a surreal world filled with cosmic deities and supernatural beings who interact on a plain field outside of their religious nature. In fact, more often than not, you will be invited to go a dreamlike escapade where nothing will feel real but the words exchanged between these characters. With brief pauses in-between chapters to appreciate stunning artwork by David Mack and Glenn Fabry, this series is a tale that looks to analyze and scrutinize their existence through the eyes of humans and their complex nature to question themselves and the world around them.
American Gods: The Moment of the Storm is an artistic spiritual journey presenting the final act where Old and New Gods march toward war.