American Gods: The Moment of the Storm by Neil Gaiman

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Title: American Gods.
Volume: 3.
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.
Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: April 23rd 2019.
Pages: 224.
Genre(s): Comics,  Fantasy.
ISBN13: 9781506707310.
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.

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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.


EXHIBITA
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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A third season should be around the corner but no news of it has come out just yet.

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21 comments

  • This is another one that I have on my list (the book, the novel and the tv series) that I still haven’t gotten around to. It’s another case of just being able to find time I guess, but then again as much as one would want to, you can’t watch/read everything in a lifetime. Still I do like the premise, and you are so right about the art being stunning. It really does look the part! Great review as always Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries, my friend. For an award-winning novel like this to get this many relatively successful adaptations with different mediums is already amazing. People will have so many ways to enjoy this story now. And like you said. It’s all about just finding and making time for it now! 😀 Thanks for reading, Michel! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Can you pleeease pleeease ask them to send me a copy for review too please, Lashaan?? Handsome, pleeease? 😀 I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this graphic novel series! You lucky duck, you!!! Brilliant review as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I look at the cover and see a hammer and a half-moon (i.e. part of a sickle). Does it have anything to do with SSSR (Soviet Union)?
    The first few episodes of season 1 were decent. But then, things just got… bad. Not weird or gross because I don’t mind that. It just became less interesting for me somehow. And so I stopped watching. I never picked up the book, even though people told me it’s different/better than the show. My feelings towards shows/books are usually accurate from the start.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nop. That’s just a moon, I believe. While the hammer references to one of his promises in the story. I haven’t tried the show yet, preferring to wait for a third season before committing but I heard that the writers or something from the first season left before season 2… It might explain the shortcomings… Can’t blame for trusting your gut there. Spares you the trouble of finding out if it’s really better or not and stick to things you ACTUALLY want to consume. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • I just want to clarify: is this based on the TV show or the book? Obviously, the show is based on the book… but I recognize they have taken liberties with the show (I haven’t seen it) to make it more modern and appropriate for television. But, based on your comment in the last paragraph, it sounds like this is an adaptation of the novel…

    I ask because the implication of parallels on the immigration issues we’re facing globally today seems so modern. I don’t know if this was there when I originally read American Gods and was added to modernize the story, or if I just didn’t see it because I read this book long ago when immigration issues weren’t at the fore the same. Does that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s an adaptation of the novel since a lot of dialogue is straight out of the novel too, don’t quote me on that though, it’s been over 3-4 years since I read it. 😀 I’d mostly recommend it for fans of the novel before anything else, but anyone curious enough but the story and artwork here can definitely jump in and get ready for a wild ride.

      Honestly, I think it’s something that strikes you as you read and indulge the ideas by Gaiman during the suuuuuper long journey in the novel. I saw those ideas of immigration because of how society tends to assimilate cultures and how we, today, now praise a much more… “modern” type of god. The ending where he meets another Odin also made me acknowledge the idea of immigration even more too. I don’t have a clue if it was intended though, I never dug into to find out hahah 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love that interpretation. When I re-read it, I’ll be looking for immigration themes. The observation that society assilimates cultures and their gods is fascinating. Humanity will always be seeking things to revere. That’s what captured my attention quite abruptly during my original reading of American Gods — the modern gods. Mr World, Media, The Intangables — this shined a light on the focus of society I had allowed myself to be mostly blinded to.

        Liked by 1 person

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