Every ninety years, twelve gods return as young people. They’re an eclectic set of deities from across human mythologies, and they are as much themselves as they are the person in whom they incarnate. The eyes of the world are on them. The catch: The whole group dies within two years. As this is the second hardcover volume – collecting issues #12-22 – the Pantheon has started to crumble in the wake of the deaths of some of their own. They know there are forces conspiring against them – they just can’t agree on who those forces are.
Where the first hardcover primarily focused on a human’s-eye-view of the Pantheon, the arcs in this hardcover shift hard toward following the Pantheon themselves. While the paranoia and politicking amongst them proceeds, we get a glimpse at who they were, and who they are, beneath the façade they’ve worn since ascending to godhood. Here as elsewhere, Kieron Gillen superbly weaves small character details and charming surprises that make them feel real despite the ridiculous scale of the things they find themselves doing, and the melodrama that surrounds them. (They are, largely, teenagers or young adults, after all.) These stories also feature guest artists who put their own spins on
Jamie McKelvie’s indelible look, further selling the divide between then and now.
But it’s not all character backstories. The Pantheon is running out of time faster than they realize, and soon the plot starts barreling toward a phenomenal climax. It ties up a lot of the threads that have been woven thus far in the series, but leaves the future full of tantalizing potential. In addition to all this, the hardcover includes tons of additional content: cover gallery, writer’s notes, a “making of” section, and the enlightening and hilarious results of a reader poll. It’s a rich volume, hefty and well worth the price of admission.
Of course, you should start with the first hardcover - you don’t want to jump into this story in the middle and have the first volume’s surprises spoiled for you – but once you’ve gotten that taken care of, this is basically required reading.