Goddess Mode #5 // Review
Things look pretty bleak and all feel quite lost in the twin worlds of the Analog and the secret world of Azoth. Things are going to get much darker before they have a chance to change as Goddess Mode rolls into its fifth issue. Zoë Quinn’s story continues with art by Robbi Rodriguez and color by Rico Renzi. The specifics of the fairy/cyberpunk fantasy world of the series take on a refreshingly fairytale storytelling quality as the origins of the mysterious world of Azoth are revealed. The series that Quinn had so muddled with exposition and world-building takes a moment to get more deeply acquainted with emotion in the fifth issue of the series.
The villain known as Antimony confronts the heroine Cassandra in the fairy digital world of Azoth. Villain and hero make a rather strange dance as hero wins some small victory simply by giving up. Giving up doesn’t quite work as well in the analog world, however. The group that had hoped to save the world is splitting up, certain that any threat they may face will be well beyond their control. All seems quite lost, but things may prove to be a bit more complicated as the origin of the digital world of Azoth is revealed for the first time.
Quinn had been muddled in developing the stories that form the basis for the world if the series for far too long. Here she dives straight into a moment of sheer hopelessness as the drama of the ensemble series amps-up into a very serious emotional issue. It’s all about emotion and exhaustion as the series regains some momentum just as the heroes seem to have lost theirs. An entire issue seems to have been carved out of the despair of the heroes and a little bit of sparkling revelation about the origin of the world. It makes for an interesting issue.
Rodriguez has a very fluid sense of action in the issue. Emotional drama carries its own impact as characters telegraph emotion through body language and facial features cast against some pretty fantastic backgrounds. Rodriguez allows some really dramatic moments to fill whole pages for some of the more powerful moments of physical impact while mood and movement slide across the page with some moments of stylish flourish. The radiance of Azoth is captured quite effectively in Renzi’s colors, which include cool greens and blues that feel particularly prominent in a palette of pastels that continue to give the world of Goddess Mode a very cool illumination throughout the story. Once again, there isn’t a terribly dramatic contrast between the twin worlds of the series, but the drama at the heart of the story continues to be compelling enough that any lack of significant contrast between the worlds doesn’t feel nearly as significant as it could have been. The drama is quite vividly there and that’s what counts.
With the origin of the fairy world firmly established, the series can now focus on actually telling the story, which it does quite well here. Quinn and Rodriguez bring visual and conceptual intensity together in a very unique story that feels special without feeling too alien. It’s very much a fantasy story, but the characters in the ensemble are human enough to be more or less universally relatable as they struggle for motivation when it’s way too easy to give up. The issue feels a little bleak, but the emotion feels authentic enough to sell it.