Pantheon is the weaving together of various versions of Egyptian mythology, starting with Atum and the creation of the world. The story chronicles Atum’s attempt to make a successful, balanced world, guiding his many children, including Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. When Osiris is murdered by his scheming brother Set, Isis sets out to bring her husband back. All told in stunning, colorful cartoon panels, with lots of dirty language, it’s a classic tale told like you’ve never seen it before.
Since Pantheon is a graphic novel, I’ll be putting extra focus on the illustrations alongside the text itself, starting with the cover. Right from the get-go, this book is showing you exactly what it’s all about: familial rivalry. The cover also gives you a pretty good indication of the content, paying particular focus on the dirty fighting that occurs throughout the novel. As far as covers go, I’d say this one is pretty kick-ass.
Cover Rating: 5/5
Though I am not very familiar with Egyptian mythology, it seems that Steele has put in a lot of work piecing together the various versions of stories that make up the Egyptian mythos to create a whole, linear story that the reader can better digest. The characters are all mapped out, including their relation to each other, and their interactions are humorous and true to character. Though Steele does inject lots of foul language and NSFW images into the story, one can’t help but shrug their shoulders and say, “Yeah, ancient myths do get pretty dirty.” While much of this dirty humor plays off of current language and insults, it doesn’t detract from the overall narrative, or cause any particular character to seem out of place or too modern.
Paired with the artwork, the story progresses at a quick, even pace and by the end, it becomes rather heartwarming (despite all the blood and guts spilled through in-fighting and family drama). Overall, Steele does an excellent job of bringing the Egyptian mythos to the reader in an easily digestible, fun story that’s packed with action and humor.
Literary Value: 4/5
This book is definitely geared to an older audience, though some teens would probably both want to read and enjoy this book. The content is mature, but Steele does not hide this fact.
One point I would like to make is that Steele does attempt to inject inclusivity into the story, both through character’s actions (there is a homosexual relationship that is included in the story, but treated as normal and not surprising), and through character dialogue, with the character Set commenting about cisgender views. I appreciate the way Steele handles this content, not drawing attention to it, but not shying away from it either. It’s just a part of the story and that’s why I give extra props to it.
Otherwise, I think Steele’s humor, though it might turn some people off, is not meant to be tasteless or gratuitous, but merely to support the known traits about these gods and goddesses, adding a more modern interpretation of them to be better accessible to a modern audience.
Lastly, the entertainment factor: Was I entertained? Definitely. I read this book in one go, and that doesn’t happen for me often. I think Steele’s storytelling is compelling, his illustrations are beautiful, colorfully bright, and humorous, and I really enjoyed his interpretation of Egyptian mythology. I had a great time reading it and I think many other people will, too, especially if you are a fan of graphic novels and/or Egyptian mythology!
Entertainment Factor: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
One book down! Alright! This one was a great start. I can’t wait to dig into some more.
Lastly, happy reading (and don’t forget to read dangerously!)