Guest Writer: Heidi Berthiaume
–This article was made possibly by a gift of a preview copy, QWERTY and rolling natural 20s.
The second issue of the God Complex: Dogma comic (created by Bryan Lie, written by Paul Jenkins, art by Hendry Prasetya, colors by Jessica Kholinne), follows up on the premise that is stated on the cover:
“In the futuristic city of Delphi, a young digital-forensics investigator named Seneca finds himself embroiled in the bizarre murders of three church acolytes. Guided by his cryptic mentor, the Ruler named Hermes, Seneca uncovers a stunning conspiracy and a mystery that will turn his entire world upside down.”
The cover features Apollo, one of the Rulers of the Hellenic Republic, and Seneca, the human who has the ability to see the Stream, a realm parallel to the world that is the totality of human knowledge. The ability to see and navigate the Stream is the exclusive domain of the helmet-headed Rulers, which makes Seneca a unique human indeed.
The beginning of the comic picks up where issue one left off – a meeting between Seneca, Hermes, and Apollo. Apollo gives Seneca the directive to find the Trinity, the one god of the Church. Having been raised by, and walked away from, the Church, Seneca has little regard for it or its incorporeal god. He’s on the hook for the investigation of the murder of three acolytes. The suspicion that the Trinity lives in the Stream and is targeting the Rulers isn’t Seneca’s concern … until Apollo makes it so.
Walking through the city that night, the voice in Seneca’s head reviews the events of the meeting. While it was made clear in the first issue that the voice is not Seneca, it’s not yet revealed who or what it is. One thing it is not is helpful in warning Seneca about the car that almost runs him over. A van of multiple assailants exchange gunfire with Seneca. The car that nearly killed him stops to dump a body in the street before speeding off.
Seneca knows the victim. The only clue is a tattoo on the man’s chest – the mark of the Resistance, the actions of the Coup. Another piece to the puzzle of the dead acolytes and the attack on the Rulers’ security system. Hermes speaks to Seneca at the crime scene, re-enforcing Apollo’s command for Seneca to use his unique perception to find the Trinity and destroy it “before the world devolves into chaos.”
There is a two page scene between Apollo and Athena discussing Seneca. It hints of prophecy, and the details of one particular panel will no doubt be explained in a later issue.
Then back to Seneca who visits the Fates at Hermes’ request. Identified in text as “artificial life forms built by the Rulers many years ago” with a “helpful predictive functionality.” Visually, they have the forms of larger-than-life female mannequins draped in wires who appear to Seneca in an otherspace reminiscent of the Stream. Most of the conversation from their side is expectedly cryptic, leaving Seneca with no more understanding of the situation … but with possibly more help than he realizes.
The end of the comic has the voice in Seneca’s head again making commentary on recent events as he walks to the apartment of his girlfriend, Jess. While she’s glad to see him, she has company … people who also have an interest in Seneca.
The photo-realistic city backgrounds seem more evident in this issue giving it a gritty feel. The world-building is expanding with new Ruler characters and bits of their history, as well as the human factions that are at play.