Is Monomyth the type of series you should be adding to your pull or is it one to stay clear off? Read on to find out.

The official description from OSSM Comics:

What if Michael fell and Lucifer prevented Adam & Eve from eating the apple? Free of sin, the people of Eden live in harmony… until Enoch’s born. Rebellious, angry, and a natural fighter, Enoch might be just what Eden needs to protect them as Michael’s army returns to annihilate.

XENO_Letts_12Ever wondered what Eden would have been like if Adam and Eve never eat from the forbidden tree? Well Monomyth explores this and much more as it shows how faith and the ability to choose from right and wrong can shape the world you live in. In addition it also tells tells tale of warring angels with Lucifer this time round being on the side of just with Michael taking the fall from grace.

Siike Donnelly does a splendid job of shaping this story as despite not being an overly religious person myself I find that it can spawn fabulous tales. It is however clever and unique twists like the one that Donnelly does here that captivate me the most with the freshness being captivating. He also does a terrific job of introducing some new characters to the land of Eden with the concept of light over darkness being very strong and powerful. In addition to this I found the opening that showed Michael against Lucifer to be extremely exhilarating and exciting.

Eric Ninaltowski‘s delivers some sticking art with the unknown artist showing a lot of talent. The detailed characters and scenery along with the bold and unique layouts really help this story come to life with the texture also enhancing the overall tone. Ninaltowski also manages to liven things up by giving dynamic action and exciting encounters. Despite all this I did find some of the facial expressions to be a little stiff though it in no way overshadows what is otherwise sensational visuals.

Monomyth sets a new precedence for religious stories with this tale of good over evil being very dramatic and enthralling. Highly recommended.

  • + The Michael vs. Lucifer opening was intense.
  • + Siike Donnelly delivers a unique twist to these biblical characters.
  • + Wonderful texture and sleek inks from Eric Ninaltowski.
  • - Characters looked a little stiff at times.

S#!T Talking Central

  • Günter Perry

    This review is poorly written and often makes no sense. Where’s the proofreading?
    John McCubbin says: “Eric Ninaltowski‘s delivers some sticking art with the unknown artist showing a lot of talent.” Maybe he means “striking” art, or, perhaps, he’s telling us an unknown artist is succeeding if his/her art were to be sticky. The choice not to use commas hurts, as it reads as if Ninaltowski has delivered “sticking art” that is connected to someone who is not Ninaltowski, but instead, the “unknown artist showing a lot of talent”. Certainly not useful writing for a critique.

    McCubbin earlier writes, “In addition to this I found the opening that showed Michael against Lucifer to be extremely exhilarating and exciting.” Commas would really help clarify this sentence. On semantics, “exhilarating” is already an intense form of “exciting”; it’s like describing something as “Great and, by the way, good.”

    Earlier, McCubbin says, “It is however clever and unique twists like the one that Donnelly does here that captivate me the most with the freshness being captivating.” Again, McCubbin desperately needs commas if he wants us to trust his recommendations in literature. Also, McCubbin is captivated by the captivating freshness, which isn’t as reassuring as he thinks that sounds.

    For all I know, Monomyth could be a decent book. Looking at the preview material, it has a lot of inconsistencies with its artwork, and I really don’t get the impression that an epic tale will unfold the way we’re being promised. What I do know is that its writer is throwing down the gauntlet, writing about the grandest of recognizable archetypes and yet, the book itself looks like a cheap reiteration the X-Men. Does Siike even know the real reason why Angels have wings?

    • Unleash The Fanboy

      I stand by John’s work. But you… Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and write 12 reviews a week like the rest of us? Serious offer.

      • Günter Perry

        Before I respond, I’m curious – since I haven’t gone to this site much before – who is the “I” in “I stand by John’s work”? Also, what does it mean to “stand by John’s work”? Are you saying his was a well-written review? Or, are you saying that John has done a lot of writing in a short time and, therefore, should be respected on the basis of volume, not quality?

        Because I stand by my observation that John McCubbin’s review is poor at best. I have nothing against him – I don’t know the man – but his writing here is woefully unprofessional and his opinions, ill-supported.

        While you couldn’t afford to officially enlist me for writing one review, much less twelve (that is, if people actually get paid to contribute to this site), I figured I would provide one gratis – as I had already started to weigh in on Monomyth.

        So, I waited until today to locate issue #1, as today is the release date. It was very difficult to find a copy, as Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles had never heard of it. Neither had the second tier stores, but I did find one copy, which I read on the spot. I didn’t buy the book because that was not the circumstance. In fact, I’m still not sure who is actually selling it in these parts.

        Now, McCubbin’s review was 358 words – with an additional 32 words to recap for the rating of “9” he awarded the book.

        I was going to follow suit with roughly that word count, but, after reading Monomyth, I discovered it is really not the type of work that stands the scrutiny of an actual “review”. It is the work of two very young men who had an interesting idea but haven’t developed their storytelling skills nearly enough.
        The most consistently impressive thing about Monomyth is the paper quality.

        What I had assumed about Monomyth is that it would be, at least, written with a style that shows experience – since Siike Donnelly isn’t only the author, he is the editor-in-chief for OSSM. Instead, it is exposition that is occasionally broken up into dialogue balloons. The balloons appear to be ascribed to the right characters, but the words themselves don’t really demonstrate who is talking. Almost all of the dialogue – with a few exceptions – could be attributed to virtually any other character. The style and cadence, the emotion and personality, is just not there. Donnelly relies heavily on artist Ninaltowski to give each character “character”, and that’s another problem on its own.

        Ninaltowski can draw nice pictures, and some of them are pretty slick, but none of the pages have the confidence and consistency to match what is already out there in the majority of 400+ floppies published each month. His work looks like he takes from Michael Golden, then John Byrne, then 1980s Jackson Guice – but mostly, I see the inconsistent 1990s Rob Liefeld art from Image Comics (much more so than the Jim Lee style hailed in one of Monomyth’s blurbs). Ninaltowski’s Lucifer, for example, has a forehead of varying heights, eyes that differ in proportion to the face, a nose that is sometimes fully illustrated and other times, merely suggested – but without an internal logic to this approach.

        Repeatedly, Lucifer is advertised as the most beautiful of the angels, and this is supported by scripture: “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty … every precious stone was thy covering … the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. … Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:12-15.
        Siike Donnelly’s personally approved version of Lucifer is as a woman, perhaps a hermaphrodite, but female more so than male. Shouldn’t she be the amazing-looking woman ever seen in comics? Not here. Instead, she is simply a healthy-looking warrior-woman, as so many have been drawn over the years that she would scarcely place in the top half of the lot. One need look no further than John Romita, Sr., Gil Kane, Alex Ross, Brian Bolland, Neal Adams, Adam Hughes, or Milton Caniff to find females immediately more arresting than Donnelly’s Lucifer, who fits more appropriately in one of Marvel’s third tier X-Men books. Keep in mind that Lucifer has been written by many great authors, and Neil Gaiman set a much higher standard in comics than Donnelly is reaching for. And consider the actors who have portrayed Lucifer: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, and the ravishing Elizabeth Hurley – the best thing about the Bedazzled remake.

        Now, about angels and “wings”, most references to angels in the Bible say nothing about wings, and in passages like Genesis 18-19, it is certain that no wings were visible.

        And “Angels never die.” Luke 20:36

        Siike Donnelly claims to have read the Bible at least ten times, if not more. Ninaltowski is often referenced by Donnelly as his Christian guide to keep him from taking the story down an offensive path. However, these two have not reconciled what has been readily provided to them on the such an enormous, expansive subject. As I said earlier, Donnelly’s Lucifer shows signs of what type of book he means to make even though he raised the stakes so incredibly high with his promising concept: Siike Donnelly is actually crafting his own X-Men book! He’s failing at that a lot less than he is at making a profound gesture about the Book of Genesis.

        Monomyth has far more problems that its half-hearted spiritual and ecumenical philosophy. The lead character, Enoch, doesn’t possess any qualities that make him especially engaging; Donnelly must believe that rebellion is simply its own virtue. The strategies employed by Lucifer and Michael don’t suggest any profound mastery of either deception or the art of combat. The locations are underwhelming. The plotting is weak.

        Somehow, John McCubbin gave this a “9”, but found Sam Keith’s The Maxx to be lesser at a rating of “8”.
        Siike Donnelly is certainly lucky that he got McCubbin; I can’t imagine another reviewer with such a peculiar yardstick.

        • John McCubbin

          You really seem to be a strange individual. Do you find it hard giving an up and coming series a chance. Also it was the concept and character depth that I liked. If you look at my previous Maxx reviews many get 10’s. Also have you ever heard of difference of opinions. I respect your opinion so respect mine. Also find something better to do than slag people off as this is far from constructive criticism and verges on insult.

          • Günter Perry

            Thanks for responding, John McCubbin. Your writing is very thoughtful in these replies, and I believe that the volume of your reviews might be the culprit affecting their quality. You’ve taken what I have to say seriously, which I appreciate, and I hope that my words can still be constructive.

            My writing may have come off as harsh, but it was direct and honest. A scale of 1-to-10 is tricky. A “5” would suggest a 50% success, but who wants to read books that are only “half good”? A “7” will hardly kill a Batman book, but a small Indie comic needs to earn at least a “9” to compete with such a congested market. Based on your statement, “Do you find it hard giving an up and coming series a chance[?]”, I realize I may have been overly-serious about what amounts to a good deed being done in an environment that tolerates a bending scale.

            Nevertheless, the driving force of my own critique is that Comic Book Criticism itself is a crucial means by which the medium can be taken seriously. The gold standard is The Comics Journal, which has been hugely influential in getting me to read books I would never have heard of, much less picked up. I fully understand, though, that a lot of fans out there aren’t necessarily excited about Maus or Gary Panter’s rendering of Purgatory. This is why writers such as yourself need to be so vigilant: you are the ones who are taking on the populist material and weighing its artistic merit. The Comics Journal, itself too hefty to publish regularly, often dismisses the costumed hero stuff while obsessinging on the tiniest details of “slice-of-life” introspective books (which, themselves, run the risking of blurring into one big mass), or European adult sci-fi comics that are driven by socio-political issues – which are easier to take seriously in an academic community. The Journal does concede, however, that there is merit in books done for fun’s sake. They highly respect Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Carl Barks, and Harvey Kurtzman – even though their reviewers eventually elevate the fun guys by pointing to the deep seriousness that underlies their fantasies and whimsy.

            Do comics need to tackle politics and grit as a critical act of artistic merit? I don’t think so, and I believe you, John, feel the same way. The tools that populist reviewers have at their disposal are those metrics of quality that most fans boast about regardless of genre or intent, and those are: story, plot, dialogue, artwork, memorability, and innovation. Kirby’s often selfless enthusiasm for telling a thrilling adventure has made him practically a genre unto himself, and I believe his talent came before “comics criticism” but, instead, helped shape it. Kirby set a standard for the adventure book, and a few subsequent artists, like a young Neal Adams and Frank Miller, have taken on the challenge and produced truly memorable work. Neal Adams today, though, has bought into the idea that he is a writer, and so the once-mighty titan is exposed for his often juvenile understanding of the world. However, when Adams illustrated for Roy Thomas and other talented writers, his focus was clearly open to deal with the intricacies of “how” to tell the story visually, and to give it weight and depth.

            I bring up Neal Adams because his is such a clear case of where an artist can be brilliant in his visualizations, but unremarkable-at-best in other areas in which one could easily have assume he would have skill. Apropos to our current disagreement: Monomyth is crafted from a very clever idea, but executed with unintended reductiveness and other weaknesses that come from inexperience and, maybe, just a lack of talent. Your score of a “9” for Monomyth was based, to my understanding, on what you perceived as a near-perfect comic that was slightly underserved by the illustrator(!). Your writing leads on that Siike Donnelly didn’t fail one iota, but that the talented Ninaltowski did not do enough to realize what would have been a flawless book.

            I respect that you enjoyed the book, and that you like the creatives involved. Your personal opinion definitely matters in your reviews, but do you really believe that Monomyth #1 is that close in quality to The Dark Night Returns? If you were to review a reissue of Miller’s vanguard work, would you give it a “10”, or would you elect to use a different scale to account for the sheer enormity of that work in comparison to most everything else? Sam Keith is an experienced artist whose been in the business for 3+ decades, and, while I agree that not everything he does is perfect – in fact, nothing he has done needs to be described as “perfect” – I think he knows a lot more about what he is doing than the creators of Monomyth, and that giving Monomyth such an unusually high score exposes it to greater scrutiny, criticism, and disappointment. Hence, my posts earlier.

            There are slickly produced disasters of the last decade, like Marville and Identity Crisis, that truly deserve their respective places in the Hall of Dishonor. Those books featured major characters from major companies, yet managed to be so comprehensively awful that whatever existed of quality within them was drowned out by their raging detestability. Bad as Identity Crisis is, there might be some who fully believe that its artwork is considerably more polished than Ninaltowski’s in Monomyth. Certainly, the faces are more distinct in Crisis. Monomyth’s earnest attempt to be a “good”, or “quality”, book should not be so redemptive as to skyrocket it to just one wrung below Watchmen, Maus, Sin City, Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol, The Dark Phoenix Saga, Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier, or the original EC comics.

            John, you have the desire to write about comic books and you challenge your own critics with great civility. You have it within you to be doing considerably better work, and I mean that sincerely. I was completely surprised by what you wrote, and it compelled me to write back as honestly as I can. I know I am not perfect by any stretch, but I hope that what I’ve had to say can be taken – at least now – as friendly debate, and as something more constructive than my admittedly harsh tone earlier.

            My best to you,

          • John McCubbin

            Thanks for your constructive criticism. I understand it’s sometimes hard to avoid coming across as overly harsh in written word. I still stand by my 9. I will however reiterate what the flaws were. Ninaltowski’s inconsistent and stiff facial expressions is one factor, but Donnelly’s writing wasn’t perfect either. The difference is that it was minor things like overall pace that was the factor to that, and given we get a limited word count (including description) of 300-400 words it’s not always easy to mention every thing, and I’ve always been one to focus on the positives over the negatives. Unless the negatives are catastrophic. I know this is maybe not ideal for readers but I do try and be honest as much as I can, and there are some that I do give harsh reviews (in a respectful way). I negatively reviewed the Joker villains issue prior to writing for UTF, and in an early review for UTF gave Elfquest: The Final Quest #1 a slightly negative review (which fans of the series hated). Thanks however for the advice, and for responding to my response. Also I hope you notice a change in my reviews for this week. I already wrote them prior to noticing your post on this one so they may not be perfect, but I hope they’re better. As this is what I strive for.

    • John McCubbin

      Well I have to say that you are right. I did make a mistake and didn’t notice, and I could use commas more. I am however far from a professional writer, and am learning whilst contributing for UTF. I appreciate people’s help in doing this, though is it really fair to slate people. As UTF say I do about 12+ reviews a week, which I don’t get paid for (I have no problem with this as I enjoy it) and don’t have the time to repetitively proof read relying on spell check on part. I do however try my best and I’m sure if I got a better education like you clearly have I’d be doing a better job. I get a lot of feedback from fans and creators alike so I can’t be doing a terrible job. Try looking at yourself and saying you’re perfect before slanting others.