About the Book

Title: Zeus: King of the Gods (Olympians #1)
Athena: Grey-Eyed Goddess (Olympians #2)
Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory (Olympians #3)
Hades: Lord of the Dead (Olympians #4)
Poseidon: Earth Shaker (Olympians #5)
Aphrodite: Goddess of Love (Olympians #6)
Published: 2010
Series: Olympians
Swoonworthy Scale: 1

Cover Story: Oh My Gods
BFF Charm: Caution!
Talky Talk: Mythic Meets Modern
Arty Art: O.G. Superheroes
Bonus Factor: Greek Mythology
Relationship Status: Unfinished Business

Cover Story: Oh My Gods

Each god or goddess gets their own volume, with a kickass cover, like a giant Olympians trading card, alluding to the story within. The covers have some cool, shiny Rainbow Fish*-esque bits — e.g. Zeus’ lightning bolt, Athena’s spear — all except Hera’s, anyway. Weirdly, she gets a tagline instead, but as someone who’s already known for being Zeus’ beleaguered wife, can she ever catch a break!?

* On which the internet apparently has v. divisive thoughts.

The Deal:

It’s a tale almost literally as old as time. First, there was nothing — or Kaos. And from Kaos, there was Gaea, Mother Earth, who created and then married the sky, Ouranos. From their union begat the titans, and from the titans arose the gods. This series is ostensibly about the Twelve Olympians of the Greek pantheon, but it’s just as much about the other gods, mortals, and everything in between of Greek mythology.

BFF Charm: Caution!

BFF charm wrapped in yellow "Caution" tape

Don’t get me wrong — having a Greek god as a BFF would def. have its perks. (Like Dionysus, god of wine? YES, PLEASE.) But given the tempers and the almighty powers that they wield, it’s just pragmatic to stay on the their good sides.

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

These are the Greek gods, so there’s plenty of hinted-at sexytimes happening, as appropriate for this series’ younger target demo. (There are several instances of kissing with bodies in close proximity, followed by ‘And then she got pregnant!’.) The most significant couples shown so far are Zeus and Hera, and Persephone and Hades. While Zeus and Hera’s 300-year-long wedding night could seem exhausting romantic, his subsequent wandering eye and her being the perpetually scorned woman most certainly do not. The king and eventual queen of the underworld, however, turn out to be quite a compatible pair, with Persephone having more agency over her sitch, instead of being straight-up raped.

Talky Talk: Mythic Meets Modern

The tone generally has gravitas befitting of a lofty epic, but it occasionally lightens into more casual and modernized territory, particularly with the dialogue. The contrast can be rather jarring, but more effective is the absence of text; O’Connor knows when to pull back and let his artwork do the talking. (They’re each worth a thousand words, after all.)

Arty Art: O.G. Superheroes

The Olympians describes itself as “mankind’s original superheroes”. But unlike a superhero property, it doesn’t dwell too long on the origin story — esp. since most of the gods have the same origin anyway — choosing instead to dig into the action, of which there is an abundance. Seeing the Greek gods in comic form also made me nostalgic for a cartoon from my childhood, Mythic Warriors, in how they both retell Greek mythology in way that’s engaging and accessible for younger audiences. 

Bonus Factor: Greek Mythology

Mythology art: Mercury bringing Jupiter to the Melisses nymphs

O’Connor’s take on Greek mythology has something for newbies and experts alike. I especially enjoyed the aspects that usually don’t get a lot of play in pop culture, like Athena’s arrogance, Persephone embracing her role in the underworld, and Poseidon’s monstrous children.

Relationship Status: Unfinished Business

As a Greek mythology fan, I’ve had a lot of fun getting reacquainted with the Olympians through this interpretation in graphic novel format. But even though each volume has its own self-contained story, it does feel very much like they’re part of an epic and I’m left clamouring for more (specifically: the Trojan War!). Fortunately, these books are quick reads, so I can binge-(re-)read the entire collection when all of them have been released.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copies from the library (Vols. 1-5) and First Second (Vol. 6). I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). Olympians Vols. 1-8 are available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she’s been overseeing all things FYA Book Club since 2013.