Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Jamie S. Rich
Artist: Megan Levens
Release Date: 6th January, 2015 (Comixology/Madefire)
Scheduled for an April print release, but currently available in two-issue “chapters” via Comixology and Madefire, Ares & Aphrodite: Love Wars from Oni Press is, potentially, a bit of a tough sell. Essentially, what we have here is the comic book equivalent of a rom-com, or at least a passable homage to the genre. Still reading? Okay, then I can continue. See, as a genre, romantic comedy can be more than a little divisive. You either love it or you hate it, and in that respect, Ares & Aphrodite fits right in. This clearly isn’t a series that’s going to appeal to everyone, but for those who take the time to push past their preconceptions – as well as those who flat-out love this kind of stuff – there’s definitely a lot to like here.
The series, written by Jamie S. King, introduces us to divorce attorney Will Ares and wedding planner Gigi Averelle, effectively playing the roles of the titular Greek gods of war and love. So far, so charmingly eye-rolling, right? However, in an interesting twist which goes a long way towards keeping things interesting, it’s Ares who’s the hopeless romantic looking for love here while Averelle remains cold, aloof and cynical.
The artwork is provided here by Megan Levens, and her suitably over-expressive characters fit in perfectly with the intentionally light-hearted tone of the series. There’s nothing world-altering in her approach, but Levens manages to provide a steady hand to keep things flowing smoothly, occasional busting out a little extra creative flair, particularly during the final scene of this chapter where we watch Ares and Averelle go through their morning routines simultaneously, before a shocking event brings them both to the same realisation.
Bottom line, your enjoyment of Ares & Aphrodite is clearly going to be limited by how much you enjoy the genre the creators are paying homage to. The humour is undoubtedly there, as is the charm, and while it’s somewhat lacking in any real substance – at least so far – the characters are definitely likeable enough to make it readable, and hey, isn’t that what the rom-com is all about? Possibly not to my own personal tastes, but still an admirable attempt at recreating a well-loved genre in the comic book format.