The story is the Greek myth of the fall of the Titans and rise of the Olympians retold in a graphic novel format. The Titans were giant, ancient gods in Greek mythology who ruled the earth before the Olympians, the Greek gods that are more commonly known today. The Olympians include Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Athena, Hestia, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, and Hermes. To tell the story, the author begins with a little before the birth of the Titans and talks about the goddess of earth, Gaea, and her husband, god of the sky, Oranos.
The myth is told by a teacher in ancient Greece giving a lecture to students. Occasionally, a student interjects a question or comment relating to the myth, which is a device the book uses to bring different points up to the reader. The ending was a little strange, as there is likely to be no sequel, but it seemed to hint at one. As a general note, it’s important to remember that all Greek myths, including this one, can have slight variations, as they used to only be passed around by word of mouth and influenced by the different city-state cultures within Greece.
Earth-toned watercolors are in consistent use, giving the book a surreal and mythic feeling. The solid lines that exist don’t always define where the colors end, making the lines seem like (very well done) sketch outlines. This less structured art style helps add to the mythic feel of the book. The mythical creatures were drawn very well, considering how abstract they can be when compared to humans.
Since the plot revolves around a battle between gods, there’s lots of violence and bloodshed. The book doesn’t specifically say that Ouranos was castrated by Cronus, nor does it mention the castration of Cronus by Zeus. However, Ouranos’s was strongly hinted at and if readers want to read another version of the myth, it’s very likely that they’ll run into those events.
Zeus and the Rise of the Olympians
by Ryan Foley
Art by K.P. Jayakrishnan
Campfire Graphic Novels, 2012