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Supergod
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 October 2011
A professor talking to a recording device sits beside the Thames River as all of London lies in burning ruin, the river choked with corpses, the sky a fiery red. This man is telling us how things got to this point, how the world ended for humans because we put our faith in gods, or superheroes - Supergods.

Warren Ellis has been writing some really interesting books in the last few years about the nature of superheroes and riffing on new ways to portray them in comics. I highly recommend checking out "Black Summer" and "No Hero" before coming to "Supergod" as you see a master writer working his way through some pretty fantastic ideas before coming to this, a culmination of sorts, and the best superhero book you'll read this year.

In this world humans build superhumans who are real representations of their own gods such as a real life, superhuman Krishna, complete with blue skin, who was created to save India. He does this by murdering 90% of the Indian population and burning down most of the structures, recreating a cleaner India thus "saving" it.

China creates a god who goes on to turn people into structures; Russian creates a god who becomes a killing machine; the UK creates a strange god with three heads that spreads love and chaos through spores; and America creates the worst one of all...

I won't go into each country's version of their saviour but suffice it to say, Ellis' imagination shows you some pretty amazing creations - and then faces them against each other. The battlescenes and the actions of these gods are incredible, in fact just imagining this story is a feat few writers could achieve but Ellis not only does it but does a great job of realising it as well. Garrie Gastonny's artwork is also brilliant and he brings each of these strange gods/monsters to life beautifully/horrifically.

"Supergod" is an utterly brilliant superhero comic that mixes in the space philosophy ideas Ellis writes about in "Planetary" with the awesome visions of superbeings in "The Authority" and the mix is a very heady book that's gripping, horrific, thoughtful, and unforgettable. Reading this was enormous fun and confirms Warren Ellis as one of the most interesting writers in comics today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2012
Warren Ellis has a prodigious imagination and in this book he returns to the themes he has explored in Planetary, the Authority and other works. The concept of Superheroes as gods was explored in Alan Moore's Miracle(Marvel)Man series but Ellis brings his own somewhat more visceral spin to the concept.

The story is told in a first person narrative style but the narrator is only occasionally part of the story making the events less emotionally engaging than they might be otherwise. Equally the pacing is somewhat hurried, reinforcing the sketchiness of the main events and reducing the emotional power.

I don't doubt that this is a purposeful device from Ellis, who is a gifted storyteller, and indeed you could argue that it underlines the theme that these new 'gods' are distant and unfathomable, but my preference would have been for a slightly longer and more intimate version of the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2014
There have been complaints in other reviews about Ellis not providing proper characters in this book. That Supergod is a rather cold and distant story and while these complaints have a basis in fact, they're still not actually valid. Here, unlike two of his earlier Avatar Press books, Black Summer and No Hero, the lack of fully realised characters has not come about from any weakness in Ellis's writing, but, rather, as a deliberate choice stemming from the type of book he's trying to write.

Personally I think that Supergod is the most fully realised of Ellis's recent works.

Unlike Black Summer, where the question was: What do you do when a Superhero goes rogue and kills the president of the USA; No Hero, where the question was what would happen when a utterly self-centred man had access to a drug which creates superheroes; Supergod asks a far more important question: what would happen if governments who were working on projects to create post-humans, or maybe trans-humans, or, more likely, 'Gods', happened to unleash their creations.

The answer is, and this is by no means a spoiler as it right there on the front page, the utter annihilation of humans and all our creations.

Ellis has never been one to shy away from the big question implications of his work and here he deploys that laser intensity of focus on the biggest question of them all. Which is not to say that Supergod is a flawless work, or anything close, but it is a damn good one, one which should be read by anyone who has any interest in the concepts of post-human, trans-human or human gods. Equally it should be read by anyone who enjoys Ellis's deadpan sarcasm and morbid wit. Also I would like to point out that Garrie Gastonny's near photo-realistic art is utterly right for the story and, given the subject matter, it kicks the reader squarely in the head, delivering beauty, horror and perplexity on almost every page. It is a visual marvel.

Still, it is Ellis's words and concepts which gets centre stage and deservedly. Through this gorgeous five issue run, we're treated to a lecture on the likely outcomes of various attempts to achieve post-humanity and Ellis holds out little hope for the possibility of the human and the post-human being able to live together in anything like harmony, in that he plays the idea as being largely in agreement with Nietzsche.

And it is in his depictions of the 'Gods' where Ellis is at his best, though for some readers at his most alienating. His thesis is that the 'Gods' cannot be rationalised in human terms, they cannot be described thus, they cannot be predicted, they cannot be reasoned with, they are outside our frame of reference and so they can only be depicted in their actions and their words and we are left to do our best to try and understand what has happened after the fact.

Yes, I can see how for many readers this would be off putting, but I think that it was a wonderfully honest, clever and mesmerizing choice and I thought that it worked and worked very well.

The one human character, our distinctly unreliable, not to mention drunk, drugged and probably psychotic scientist narrator, Reddin, is clear on this question, he flat out states it and while he is utterly unreliable over certain things, on this subject you have to accept that the man knows what he's talking about.

If there is a problem with this volume (and to my mind this is a problem and an important one) it is that we're given an awful lot of build up for the character of Jerry Craven (as seen on the front cover) without anything like proper pay off in his storyline. It is disappointing, quite seriously so.

Still this remains Ellis's best work for quite some time and, if you are happy dealing with Ellis's unconventional narrative style, have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to the visual depiction of the horrific action and a confidences in your ability to understand Ellis's rather dense philosophical, technical and moral arguments, then do read it. It's a blast.
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Warren Ellis realises an alternative world where humans have combined superstition with science to create godlike supermen to help 'save the world'. Each culture creates 'God' in their own image - India manufactures Krishna, the Chinese come up with a deity who builds structures out of people & the USA version thinks smalltown America is Heaven on Earth. However, these incredibly powerful creatures are more like Gods than men, so their actions are as inhumanly unfathomable as they are brutal. Krishna, for example, goes about 'saving' India by tackling its overpopulation problem in a direct & bloody manner. This is Miracleman minus the humanity - the 'gods' are powerful, implacable creatures who are ultimately very bad for our species' health.

As per his proven track record, Ellis is darkly imaginative & the story is beautifully conceived by Garrie Gastonny. But for all its imagination, daring & nice art, it's rather brief & devoid of any human element to give it emotional resonance. Our narrator is human - a scientist with knowledge of the various supergod projects - but one lacking in empathy & warmth. Plus the symbolism & lofty ideas just didn't have anywhere to go; What would happen if we created supergods? Most of humanity would die. Okay... Is that it? Yep, pretty much. Yet despite feeling a little dissatisfied just after I finished it, I can't help flicking through it & thinking back to some of the issues raised. It really brings home just how monstrous the visions of God actualised by various cultures really are - and what does that say about our species?

Some good ideas & beautiful art, plus a nod to Cthulhu, which always goes down well with me, yet Supergods has the feel of throwaway light entertainment in some areas - like superMEN, superGODS' problem solving skills ultimately boil down to hitting other supergods. It also lacked a strong ending but despite some initial disappointment, the more I contemplate it, the more satisfying a work it becomes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2011
Supergod is a rare treat for the brain, right from the off asking you questions about yourself that make for uneasy answers. This effect however is sadly tempered by the whole package being very restrictive in scope to the point where you can almost feel the frustration of the authors imagination of not being quite able to create the beast he set out to when first penning the tale. I would recommend supergod, but it is merely a decadent treat rather than the nourishing mind food it could have been.
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on 10 December 2012
Warren Ellis has a talent for distilling the disturbing truth from our modern mythologies, seeding his tales with human frailty and super-human menace. In Supergod, he shows us the horrific consequences of a superhuman arms race, in which flawed humanity makes the mistake of creating beings they cannot control or understand. These beings, some of which pay tribute to gods and monsters both old and modern (fans of the Six Million Dollar Man and The Quatermass Experiment should get a smile), destroy us merely by existing as predicted by Nietzsche, and are beautifully illustrated by Garrie Gastonny. Make no mistake, this is not a light comic-book tale, but Ellis continues to prove himself a master of the mini-series. Very highly recommended.
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on 30 August 2014
This book by W.Ellis is five out of five, no question. I would only like to point out one thing: Notice the fact that prof. Reddin looks eerily similar to Stan Lee,which puts the whole thing into entirely different light, not so far away from Planetary, major difference here being that while Planetary seems to be a lovingly crafted send up to the Age of Pulp /among many other things, though/, Supergod is not so veiled in its fingerpointing....
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2011
It's worth pointing out that this version is in French, not English. Amazon could have made this rather clearer than they did - it's buried in the details section of the main website, and extremely hard to find on the iPad app.
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on 16 December 2014
An utter, politically incorrect (as they have to be), apocalyptic masterwork that takes man's obsession with divinity through a superhuman lens.
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on 10 January 2014
I didn't realize this was a one off story and could have easily read a longer series in this dark universe
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