Action Lab Entertainment 2016
By Steve Bryant
Coloured by Jim Nelson
Athena and her new acquaintance, matinee idol Carter Charles, agreed to dispose of the mysterious artifact Pele’s Tears in the Mt. Kilauea volcano. The pair flew to the island of Hawaii, where they were met by Athena’s ally, Lajos Mano--who promptly betrayed Athena to the Nazis. During a speedboat crash, Athena and Mano were set adrift, while Carter has been captured by the Nazis….
Athena is one of those great character creations that a creator is lucky to come up with. That Steve is able to tell these short succinct stories about her that feel like old movie serials makes enjoying her adventures even more fun. This has me kind of torn because I love Athena for her no-nonsense attitude and kick butt nature and don’t want this to end but it is a complete story told in three parts. Granted it ends on a note that says Steve has ideas for other stories down the pike but it’s the waiting for em.
I’ll say this much the opening here was spectacularly done and Lajos certainly got what was coming to him. Also I like the way that a new character is introduced so late in the game. The introduction of Detective Chang Apana, Honolulu Police, just goes to showcase how Steve understands how to structure a story. His appearance while convenient does more than we initially see. There’s potential with him moving forward that could be both helpful and troublesome for Athena and it’s little things like this that make Steve’s understanding of storytelling so impressive.
That Steve does the writing and illustrative chores here makes it all the more impressive. That everything we see is exactly what he intends for maximum impact is wonderful. The use of page layouts through the use of angles, perspective and even backgrounds make reading this story that much fun. Plus just the way he’s able to bring these characters to life is fantastic from Athena in her traditional garb, Charles as the Matinee Idol or our Nazi villainess in that uniform they come across regular fantastic folk.
Speaking of Carter Charles it’s really nice to see the tables turned here. His chasing and romancing Athena is the perfect foible of what we normally see. He’s a great one arc love interest for her and keeping with who she really is.
The way this story unfolds shows not only a great imagination, see how Athena’s tactics stave off the ceremony at the volcano, but a flair for the dramatic. It’s got a great balance between action and storytelling that made shows like The Wild Wild West such a success and cult classic. Along the way the continuing characterisation and introduction of potential future stories really does make this feel like that perfect “old school” artform.
Here’s hoping that Athena Voltaire has a long and healthy run at Action Lab!