Not gonna lie here: This was an intimidating issue once I cracked it open.
The recap gave a general sense of what was going on, and having the main protagonists listed along with their talents helped, too. And then once you get to the full-page splash of them hurtling through an intangible equation bordering on madness? It's a bit much.
HOWEVER, this was some quality **** - Fawkes takes a simple premise (humans who want to be gods) with a neat angle (they're all con men), and places them in a world whose context makes the con men seem loony (nobody really knows about the gods on Earth that run things). And the damn thing WORKS!
Marco Failla does the yeoman's work in this issue, taking the crew not only through the aforementioned environmental mathematical equation but also gives great backgrounds for each character, showing them at various points of their lives. His work is expressive and clean (he does his own inks), and even though I wasn't quite sure what the **** was going on right away it still never felt awkward or inconsistent.
Having Stefani Rennee on colors doesn't hurt either: giving flesh to some of the absurdist visions that Failla is cranking out is a monumental task that Rennee tackled perfectly. The palates he develops gives the environments -- both in our reality and in the in-between -- a very nice sense of depth. He also uses stark, contrasting colors very effectively to set up tension and a sense of other-worldliness. Just a ****ing wonderful job.
And then there's the director setting everything up: Ray Fawkes sure as **** can make a confusing swirl of chaos seem far more organized than it has a right to be. I'm two issues late to a complex narrative, and it was still accessible and cohesive enough for me to easily be engrossed.
I loved the dialogue for each character, where every individual has their own sense of cadence and attitude. I loved the flashback sequences, which were thoughtfully done and arranged to give each character a grounding point. And I LOVED the last few pages, which you'll have to purchase to find out why (gotta love a cliff-hanger)!
This is a fun book in a sea of too-serious stories - it's thoughtful, energetic, deep, and wild. Fawkes and crew on are to something special, and I'm excited to see where it leads.