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– by Tim Jousma

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Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess is coming soon from Action Lab Comics and the writer for the story, Steve Bryant, was gracious enough to give me an advanced copy to help get the word out. It centers on the title character as she is enlisted on a search for the Volcano Goddess.

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 Â  While the story is good, the first issue I have with it is that the story is too derivative of Indiana Jones. If it were isolated to a scene or two, I would have let this slide but too often when I was reading, I would think “That was in Raiders.” Or “Hey, here’s a little Temple of Doom action.”

 Â  I have no problem with stories that are inspired by older work. Artists are inspired by a lot of things and one way to build up your skills as a writer or artist is to honor the work you respect. Taking aspects of characters you’ve enjoyed in other work is not a bad thing. Having a scene somewhat resemble a scene from your favorite book or comic is also not a bad thing as long as your story is not dependent totally on said inspiration. At that point the story goes from homage to fan fiction with some name changes to make you think there’s something original happening.

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  That doesn’t mean Athena is a bad story. I rather enjoyed it. Yet the fact that so much of it was cribbed from Indiana Jones is a detriment to what could have been a fun adventure. I hope the writer keeps this in mind for future issues. Taking so much from a character and stories as well loved as the Indiana Jones movies will only lead readers to question why they’re reading an imitation when they can fire up their Blu-Ray player to watch the original movies. There needs to be more originality in the piece.

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   When it comes to the art work, there’s a lot to enjoy here. The characters themselves are drawn rather well. I was impressed that we have a comic with a female lead and the character isn’t given an excuse to wear next to nothing. Some of the locations in the comic were well drawn as well. I think the only issue I have with the art is certain panels where we have a close up on a character talking, we see only a solid color in the background. We don’t see the background of the room or location they are in. It’s a minor thing that bugged me which others may not care about but I would have preferred some consistency on location.

   At the end of the day, Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess is not a bad read. It’s an enjoyable story. The biggest problem you’ll notice is, honestly, the lack of originality in this issue. There are some people like Quentin Tarantino who, in his films, is able to take characters and scenes from other movies that inspired him and make them his own. Watching one of his films, you would never notice when a certain character is taken directly from a film that inspired him. The fact that in this comic I spent most of the issue having scenes from Indiana Jones movies popping into my head was ultimately a detriment. The core story is rather good here. In the next issue, Iwant more original content.

   Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess is available for pre-order now from Action Lab Comics. It arrives in stores on November 23rd, 2016. I do encourage you to buy it. Despite my critique of the story, it is a fun read and the art is top notch.