After cutting herself on the Sword of Perseus, human woman Gloria Merrick finds herself thrust into the mysterious realms of mythical magic and ancient power. Transformed into a gorgon and endowed with the powers of Medusa, Gloria must make sense of her newfound abilities and unravel the mysteries of her predecessor’s demise.
By mining ancient Greek mythology and adding a superhero twist, Nick Lyons has certainly created a rich world in which his story can play out. This first issue lays some of the groundwork for the series to follow including bringing the reader up to speed on events that obviously took place in the parent series 10th Muse. The combination of themes such as ancient feminine power, a magical weapon and the passing down of power from one woman to the next brings to mind Witchblade.
The story of Medusa, the beautiful priestess of Athena, is popular and well-known but the version recounted here inexplicably omits the most powerful part of the original myth. In Ovid’s telling of the Medusa myth, which it seems that Lyons is using, Medusa is raped by Poseidon in the temple of Athena. Outraged, Athena punishes Medusa for defiling the temple by turning her into a hideous gorgon. The unjustness of Medusa’s punishment by one god, having been wronged by another, is the emotional lynchpin of the myth and it’s disappointing that Lyons has not chosen to employ this powerful narrative element in Medusa.
The dialogue in Medusa can at times be unnecessarily heavy-handed particularly in the first few pages when Lyons is obviously trying to include expository text for readers not familiar with the backstory. The tendency to fall back on clichés makes it hard to truly identify with the characters and does little to further the reader’s understanding of who they are as unique individuals or what their perspective on events might be. The three main characters who appear in this issue therefore come across as somewhat two-dimensional.
This issue is largely concerned with a confrontation between Gloria and Medusa’s two sisters, Euryale and Stheno. Visually Hendricks and Riely capture the energy of the fight well and their interpretation of the three gorgons is good fun. Again, the influence of Witchblade is obvious in the depiction of Gloria once she ‘powers up’. However despite the initial success of the face-off between the three gorgons, the energy just fizzles out completely near that end and the resolution is very weak indeed.
Verdict: Medusa has a very interesting concept with a lot of potential. It will be interesting to see where the series goes from here and whether it can improve on what is a fairly average debut issue. 4/10
Story: Nick Lyons
Art: Brandon Hendricks & Carl Riely
Published by Bluewater Comics