Here’s a release which may have slipped under the radar: Ares & Aphrodite #1 by Oni Press. Written by Jamie Rich with art by Megan Levens, this series was originally slated for a February release as an original graphic novel. Instead, the series will debut digitally as a 6-part, weekly series before the physical version hits store shelves. The premise behind Ares & Aphrodite would be fitting for a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy: two people with careers at opposite ends of the marriage spectrum find love when their mutual client brings them together. So is this first issue worth checking out? Absolutely.
Much of this opening chapter is spent with Ares – a divorce attorney who, based on the threats he receives throughout the issue, happens to be a little too good at his job. Rich and Levens present these threats with dark humor. His car is vandalized and he sleeps holding a golf club for protection. These are serious incidents that would not be taken lightly in reality, but the artwork’s whimsical feel (and the fact that he is a blood-sucking lawyer) is more likely to conjure up laughter than empathy. Regardless of the intended effect, following Ares throughout is easily the most entertaining facet of the issue.
Readers are not given as much time with Aphrodite, resulting in a lack of characterization. From the few pages that focus on her, she is in the mold of a career-obsessed person who never takes the time to make a life – a trope that has been visited many times to varying degrees of success. Unfortunately, it is too early to tell how she will develop. Hopefully the second installment is able to give readers a better indication of who she is as a character.
Ares & Aphrodite #1 is a solid start for what looks to become a solid romance comic. Hopefully, the on-the-nose character names are indicative of fireworks igniting (for both good and bad reasons) when they inevitably cross paths. Those looking for a lighthearted departure from their pull lists ought to check this out.