Olympia #1 Review

by Jay Hill on November 19, 2019

Story by: Curt Pires & Tony Pires
Written by: Curt Pires
Art by: Alex Diotto
Colors by: Dee Cunniffe
Lettered by: Micah Myers
Published by: Image Comics

Being an avid daydreamer as a kid, I’ve had many fantasies of one of my favorite characters jumping from their world and into mines for an adventure to rescue me from boredom. The main character of Olympia, young Elon, isn’t just ruminating about that scenario, he has it happen to him. While sitting in a park reading his favorite comic, the hero Olympian crashes onto Earth and brings with him all the makings for an awesome adventure.

This comic has been compared to a Steven Spielberg film, and this first issue proves that those comparisons aren’t just accurate but deserved. It’s sure to fill some readers with nostalgia for going to their local comic shop to buy a new issue with the lunch money they’ve saved up, or racing home from school to catch an episode of He-Man or ThunderCats. And, like any Spielberg family film, the nuance comes from the emotional drama of the central character. Even in this introductory issue, we get the groundwork for why Elon finds his freedom in the world of fantasy. At school, he is bullied. At home, he has lost his father and his mother works late, leaving him alone with only his Olympia comics to keep him company. So, when Olympian himself leaps from the comic panels and into Elon’s life, you can see why he sees this as an absolute blessing instead of a potential danger. I will say though, Elon was surprisingly quick to accept this insane situation. Then again, looking back at myself at that age, I can’t say I’d act much different.

The heart-warming aspects of this comic are put into another scope when learning about the conception of this idea. Curt Pires and his father Tony Pires, who was undergoing treatment for cancer at the time, thought up this tale together. Including a touching tribute to start the issue, it takes this tale of a boy who has lost his father then have the father figure of his dreams fall from the sky to another level. But the story is great without knowing that background. It’s funny, neatly scripted, and has a cinematic charm to the scenes and transitions. The boisterous Olympian is a fish out of water whose experience with the real world leads to many funny interactions. And, Elon has a quiet, outsider relatability but also an emotional scar he is keeping hidden. There's a teacher who stands up for Elon and could be the more stable support he needs instead of a comic hero being chased by his villainous adversary. 

While the storytelling invokes Steven Spielberg, the art pays homage to the King, Jack Kirby. The opening shots of the Olympia issue are some of the best Kirby-esque art I’ve seen. There’s a shouting “maximum state” faced barbarian on the splash page, thick inky lines, Kirby Krackle, and a rock formation that could be the skin of Ben Grimm. The bodies of the characters of Olympia have that Kirby blockiness to them, but, like the story, the art doesn’t use its inspirations as a crutch. Alex Diotto’s art for Elon’s world is his own style. One that plays to the domestic feeling of the story. And even when he is channeling Kirby, he uses some unique thin and intricate lines in contrast with the thick inky Kirby style. The cinematic elements I mentioned are enhanced by Diotto when Pires leaves him many scenes without dialogue to tell the story by wholly visual means. Dee Cunniffe’s colors are highlighted in one of these dialogue-light scenes, by showing the day to night cycle through the setting sun. Cunniffe is also great at casting light.

Olympia is exploring the imagination of a young boy, and, while doing so, has captured mine. The story looks like it’s going to be filled with action, adventure, and fun. But, also a lot of heart. Like the work of Spielberg, it can bring out the kid in you, and like the work of Kirby, it’ll make you believe heroes are real. But, it’s not just a love letter, it’s a labor of love (and a superb comic).

Our Score:


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