Biblical mythology is no stranger to the comic book genre, and the twists that writers brainstorm regarding this ancient and rich material has resulted in popular and varied series like Spawn, Preacher, Hellboy, and more. Monomyth, written by Siike Donnelly and featuring the art of Eric Ninaltowski, is the latest mini-series from OSSM Comics and the latest to re-imagine the events of scripture with a comic book version of the epic story of Lucifer’s (Or is that Michael’s?) fall.
Monomyth #1 begins Donnelly’s alternate timeline with a few simple twists: What if Lucifer was female? And, what if she didn’t fall from grace? Playing out like a biblical Elseworlds, Marvel: What If? or Star Wars: Infinities book, Monomyth shows the archangel, Michael, fall in Lucifer’s place and allows us to view the “fallout” of this twist. Lucifer becomes a protector of mankind and Adam and Eve never consume the forbidden fruit, so society emerges within the walls of Eden, and Michael waits in the shadows for his moment to strike back. We also are introduced to Enoch, a young male human who lives in Eden who has been “chosen” for some special purpose that will surely emerge in future issues.
First issues, especially origin stories, are often necessary, but they are always difficult to create. Far too often they come off as predictable, lackluster, or stiff, but with Monomyth #1, Donnelly delivers a first issue that comes off as fresh and original. Donnelly doesn’t hold back, opening the issue in mid-battle between Lucifer and Michael, a tactic that not only immediately pulls the reader into a high-stakes and legendary confrontation, but immediately establishes the writer’s twists on the classic biblical tale by featuring a female Lucifer fighting on the side of her Lord against the rebellious (and soon-to-be-fallen) archangel, Michael. This opening is incredibly effective and cinematic, a credit that goes to both Donnelly’s script and Ninaltowski’s crisp and clean art style.
Donnelly and Ninaltowski also give readers a very unique look at a human society created within Eden. While the strict society the humans have formed has a creepy, “anti-negative emotions” extremism running through it, God’s people have also achieved certain God-given powers that have yet to be fully explained, because of their presence in Eden and closeness to the Creator. While it is an intriguing, new look at an early human society, readers will probably wish for more scenes with this new version of Lucifer and the plights of the angels. No matter the focus on Enoch, our other lead character, Lucifer is clearly the star of the show and the character fans will be drawn to. That said, I must give credit to Donnelly and OSSM Comics for pushing a book that features a female Lucifer and a teen character of color as its lead characters. Many large publishers wouldn’t have the guts to proceed with a book like this.
Finally, who can ignore Ninaltowski’s artwork? His visuals build upon Donnelly’s script in natural way, and his Jim Lee-inspired style is a good fit for Monomyth. He’s got a real gift for action scenes, and his impressive work on the first ten pages are some of the best in the entire book and provide an excellent opening.
FINAL VERDICT: In all honesty, Monomyth will not be for everyone. If you’re extremely religious or uncomfortable with the idea of “alternate universes” of the biblical type, then this might not be the book for you. If you’re engaged by epic action, new takes on old stories, and badass female archangels with huge swords, then there’s nothing not to love here. I always like to give a new series a few issues to truly come up with solid feelings about the quality of the series, but Monomyth #1 has enough going for it in the initial issue that I would recommend adding it to the pull list for the next few months and see if you enjoy Donnelly and Ninaltowski’s saga.
Also, check out FBC’s video interview from Comic-Con with Monomyth writer Siike Donnelly and artist Eric Ninaltowski at the link below:
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers! Keep those eyes peeled for Enoch!
’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer