Thursday, May 02, 2013

New review for "God the Dyslexic Dog" Volumes 1-3

'God the Dyslexic Dog: Volumes 1-3' - Graphic Novel Reviews


God the Dyslexic Dog 3God the Dyslexic Dog is an epic story in three volumes, published over the course of several years. It’s sometimes strange, occasionally surreal, often existential, and more than a bit confusing. It spans time, from the dawn of the universe to the present, and into the future. It deals with history and myth, religion and science, God, man, animals, and everything in between. Often, it’s difficult to understand or keep track of. But, even when you have no idea where you’re going, it’s still a crazy ride and very entertaining.

The story opens with God, the omniscient but passive Eye in the Sky, giving man the power to create gods of his own—but not the wisdom to control them. And so, to protect man from his own creations, God inverts himself and becomes doG, not a ruler but a loyal pet.

Then, we meet Bacchus, from the pantheon of man’s gods. He’s bipolar and half mad, a dichotomy—the god of wine and revelry, yes, but also of the hangover. The most social god, but also the loneliest; the most fun, but also the most depressed. The quintessential alcoholic, he drinks his divine wine, which he calls his Bliss, looking for lasting fulfillment, but instead finding only a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Still, he continues to drink it. It’s everything he has, but it’s never enough, and finally it’s nothing at all. He wants to die. Unfortunately, he’s immortal.

But, there’s a solution. The power of the gods is contained in a box. The box is kept safe by a woman named Pandora. You know where this is going.

With the box opened, the Earth, humans, and gods alike are doomed to destruction at the hands of the Mayan Calendar—portrayed as an actual ticking doomsday clock. Now, all Bacchus has to do is wait a millennium or so for the calendar to run out: hardly any time at all for an immortal.

In the meantime, God the Dyslexic Dog finds himself owned by Pavlov, whose sadistic bell-ringing experiments are designed to subjugate dogs—and thus God—once and for all. Once God is finally under man’s control, a new god is created: Dar-win, god of science. And, he has an agenda of his own.

Fast forward to the present day, and we meet Cassandra, the pet psychic, and her dyslexic son Nez, who just might be the world’s last hope.

In Volume 2, Bacchus decides to take a more active role in the world’s destruction and raises up an army, beginning at Burning Man and working his way across the country. Dar-win has his own army, made up of disgruntled gods and super-evolved animals, which is terrorizing the people of Earth. Nez, meanwhile, finds doG and goes to the Bermuda Triangle to meet evolution’s missing links—monkeys with the intelligence and technology of humans, who also want to stop the Mayan Calendar and its destruction.

In Volume 3, Bacchus’ army meets Darwin’s army (now sans dash in his name, with no explicit explanation why), and they have an epic battle for the end of the world.

Those are the basic highlights of the plot, but, of course, there’s much more to it than that. The whole story is very complicated and, at times, convoluted. It’s not entirely consistent either, from the first volume to the last, and characters’ motivations, goals, and general roles in the story seem to fluctuate quite a bit without warning. Understandable, considering that the first issue of Volume 1 was published in 2004, and Volume 3 came out in 2010. It’s hard to maintain absolute consistency over that long a period of time. That, combined with the general existential nature of the events described makes this not the easiest story to follow or understand.

But, it’s best not to try to understand it too closely. By its own admission, it’s a story inverted, so a lot of things are turned around, or held up to a funhouse mirror. Just go with the flow. Philip and Brian Phillipson have created a very entertaining journey that’s fun to experience even when you don’t quite understand it.

And, the story is accented perfectly by the wild artwork of Alex Niño. With brilliant colors, abstract images, and a breathtaking scale, he creates the worlds of Heaven, Earth, and places in between. He gives us gods, monkeys, dinosaurs, and more. Bizarre, surreal worlds for a bizarre, surreal story. Compelling even when you don’t understand it, and beautiful to look at even when it isn’t compelling. In short, God the Dyslexic Dog is a whole lot of fun.