Goddess Mode #2 // Review
Cassandra Price has about nine panels to adjust to the fact that she’s in a completely different world. All those panels are lovingly crammed into the first page. Then the Daemons attack. With this, Writer/Game Designer Zoë Quinn launches into Goddess Mode #2. The densely dizzy, frenetic cyberpunk fantasy energy of her narrative is brought to the page by Robbi Rodriguez with color by Rico Renzi.
Cassandra is in another world. they call it Azoth: “the plane of existence that contains ALL information.” The Daemons that are attacking are “beings of pure id” who mark their prey in the analog world on the other side of information...the one inhabited by normal people in with normal jobs who AREN’T being attacked by monsters from another world. All of this and so much more is explained to Cassandra by a group of women who are. also able to access Azoth as they are all being hunted by Daemons who want to eat them.
Zoë Quinn relates to comic book narrative in a way that feels very much like a computer RPG. The world of the story is very, very dense. There’s a tremendous amount of world-building going on in this issue as Cassandra deals with being displaced and having strange powers in another world. It can feel a bit bewildering in the thrust of the narrative, but Quinn seems aware enough of this that it’s probably totally intentional. Quinn is constructing a staggeringly complicated world for the characters and simply dropping the reader into it. Quinn is witty enough in dialogue and delivery to lighten the density of the information that is the foundation of the world she’s creating.
Artist Robbi Rodriguez is given a lot of room to breath in between all the lengthy bits of text Quinn’s using to render the world. Motion and emotion move across the page with a visual signature that is occasionally sketchy and occasionally rendering a hi-res world of fine-lined detail. There’s anger and danger and action that animate everything, but all of that wouldn’t be anything if it weren’t for the fact that Rodriguez can make the page feel emotion. All of the drama in the story feels tastefully exaggerated without ever going totally over the top in intensity. It’s precisely the right kind of balance to anchor Quinn’s words in the visual.
Rico Renzi is working with kind of a huge color palette here. As so much of it feels cold and pastel, it never quite overpowers the rest of what’s being brought to the page. Precisely how it is that. Renzi manages to keep it all from clashing is kind of a mystery. Careful thought seems to have been put into layering color and detail in such a way that story, art and text always stay just a few microns away from totally colliding into each other.
There’s so much about this issue that continues to feel very electrifying as Quinn and company bring the world of Goddess Mode into full view. The distinct blending of Matrix-style 1990s pop cyberpunk with Midsummer Night’s Dream fairy world has a lot of potential. The world-building and character rendering in this issue is a lot of fun. It’ll be interesting to see how Quinn adjusts once the background of the world is fully established in issues to come.