Primordia (Archaia, $19.95)

John R. Fultz (w), Roel Wielinga (a)

This is an ancient creation myth without the messiness of genuine mythology, but also without mythology's gut-feeling of authenticity. But it is mildly amusing.

Primordia is set in an unnamed past of perhaps our planet, with various peoples living above and alongside humans advanced enough to live in Ur-like cities but possibly before anybody started writing it down. In other words, a generic pre-history myth. 

Within that (fairly open) framework, a charming story occurs. It opens in "The Wood," which is basically Faerie, with various Pan-like men and women, tiny glowing elves, and other fairy-like creatures, two of whom stumble upon twin baby boys, abandoned in the "outer wood," which brushes up against where we mere mortals live. They are brought before King Oberon and Queen Titania the rulers of The Wood, who detect that the babies are demi-gods, but decide to let them live. They are, in fact, the son of the Sun God and the son of the Moon King, who shared the same human woman on the same night, as we will learn later, but the upshot is that the Irish-looking one is only awake during the day and exhibits great martial ability, and the bluish-looking one is only awake at night, and masters sorcery. So, you know, the standard Thor/Loki dichotomy. And they are raised by the female of the pair that found them.

As adults, both end up dating/courting/sleeping with the same (green) woman (with antlers), without being aware that she's cheating on both, a trick the girl can pull off fairly easily, since the two boys are never awake at the same time. Which is sort of spicy, and sort of NOT Ancient Myth-y, since the girl in question seems to have her own mind, and that mind tells her she can have the best of both worlds (plus lots of sex), and she doesn't seem to be "owned" by anyone. So that's kind of modern and not the kinda retro women-are-property idea we're used to, nor is it the Slut/Madonna Syndrome(tm), or any of the other ways, ancient and modern, that women are not allowed to act with the freedom of men. But the boys eventually figure out the girl's (lack of) preference, which upsets them both, and then moves the story to the Quest phase, where both go out into the world to achieve some Macguffin or other, which possibly, maybe has something to do with the green chick. Or not.

Does the situation resolve? Do the boys learn their heritage and/or meet their fathers? Does the green chick dump both Sun Boy and Shadow Lad for for Dawn Kid and Twilight Youth? Well, you have to read on to find out.

Or, you know, not.

That's the real problem with this book for me, which is that it does ape the tropes of mythology, without actually BEING mythology. I don't really care how the various story threads end, because they don't apply to actual human beings and societies. In real life, the Elder Eddas and The Iliad and The Odyssey and so forth were attempts by primitive peoples to explain their world and history, and we intuitively understand those stories, just as we use them to understand the societies -- our mutual past -- that gave rise to those stories. Myths echo in our heads, and have meaning, because of what they tell us of our common past and to explain our common present.

Made-up myths? Well, I don't really care how they end. And they aren't -- by design -- sophisticated enough as stories to entertain me. So, you know, meh.

But as pseudo-myths go, this one is very well done. And the art is very Jack Katz/The First Kingdom-like, only with better rendering and computer coloring. So if my specific complaint above doesn't resonate with you, then you will probably enjoy Primordia. And even this jaded old fanboy might read a second Primordia collection, because I'd like to see the story progress. Because it's charming, if not meaningful in any way. That's certainly all the creators intended, and maybe that's all we need.

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