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Apollo: The Brilliant One

Review

Apollo: The Brilliant One

The stories about the god Apollo are some of the most dynamic and compelling in all of Greek mythology, which makes APOLLO: The Brilliant One a fantastic addition to George O’Connor’s Olympians series of graphic novels. With bold and dynamic visuals and sparse but dramatic text, O’Connor regales readers with the exploits of Apollo; his passions and violence, his foibles, power and legacy.

Our guides to the life of Apollo are the Greek Muses, starting with Polyhymnia, the inspiration for religious hymns. She tells the story of Apollo’s birth starting with the affair between his father, Zeus, and his mother, Leto. Leto’s tale is a tragic one: after catching the eye of the King of the Gods and then suffering the wrath of his jealous wife, Hera, Leto gives birth to Apollo and his twin sister Artemis on the desolate island of Delos. God of prophecy, poetry, healing, archery, reason, young men and eventually the sun, Apollo grows up strong and bright. He heroically battles the giant Python, an agent of prophecy, avenging his mother. He forms a deep and loving bond with Hyacinth, the Prince of Sparta. And he has a son, Asklepios, a healer who brings medicine to the world.

A great story coupled with appealing and finely drawn images, and it rounds out O’Connor’s compelling vision of the deities of Olympus.

But Apollo is also a vengeful god, often quick to anger and become violent. His pursuit of the nymph Daphne results in Gaea turning her into a tree so she can avoid his clutches. He skins the satyr Marsya alive to punish him for presuming to enter a singing contest against him and he kills the ancient Cyclopes. Thus O’Connor presents Apollo in all his complicated glory. Because O’Connor uses the Muses as storytellers and narrators, readers get learn about them, as well.

At the end of APOLLO: The Brilliant One, O’Connor includes several pages with more information on Apollo, his son Asklepios and the nine Greek Muses. Especially fun to read are the three pages of “G(r)eek Notes” that O’Connor shares about his text and drawings.

APOLLO: The Brilliant One is a great story coupled with appealing and finely drawn images, and it rounds out O’Connor’s compelling vision of the deities of Olympus. Greek mythology and graphic novels each hold tremendous appeal for readers of all ages and this book won’t let them down. While in no way a comprehensive look at Apollo’s myths, APOLLO is a fantastic and exciting introduction to this important god of ancient Greece. 

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on January 27, 2016

Apollo: The Brilliant One
by George O'Connor