Gods have been having a mini resurgence in pop culture this year, but Cloudia & Rex is the first of the recent crop where I haven’t felt like an outlier to the enthusiasm.
Cloudia and Rex are sisters and issue one opens with them helping their mom pack the van for their move to Seattle. We don’t know how Rex feels about this but Cloudia is absorbed in her phone, the better to give her mom the silent treatment.
As someone who’s always been weary of age generalizations, seeing teenagers act in prescribed “teenage” ways usually pushes my buttons (it’s why I tend to dislike John Hughes movies), but writers, Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas, change the course of this scene by having Rex comment on the phone’s wallpaper after Cloudia storms away. Without having to say ‘Papi died’ the recentness of his loss is observable, and every member of the family gets to grieve.
I say everybody because Cloudia and Rex’s mom is allowed to have her story told as well. She’s not that parent teenage narratives feel obligated to include but make disappear whenever possible. She gets to hurt alongside her girls — a mother and a widow — and it’s meaningful that her story doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
That’s what makes Cloudia & Rex so strong. Cloudia and her family are compelling without the Gods around, and when they do arrive their lives don’t become consumed by their drama. Their personal lives aren’t page holders for when the “real” action begins but equally fleshed out.
So what about those Gods? Without getting into too much detail, some of the Gods are seeking refuge on Earth, including twin brothers, Hypnos and Thanatos. Thanatos is the God of death, an unimposing Grim Reaper whose skull head doesn’t have a nose hole. Hypnos is the God of dreams. He has the body of a Greek statue, if that statue were headless and encased in a gelatin mold with eyes. It’s not scary but this crazily, imaginative creation by artist, Daniel Irizarri.
All of Irizarri’s renderings of the Gods are original, and in an interview at the end of the issue, Farinas talks about how, “…when Gods are shown in popular media, they are often just the Greek or Egyptian pantheon. I wanted to show a world of beliefs and cultures, all mixing together.” I hope, if future issues include bonus content, that they have a chance to talk about some of those Gods and religions.
The lettering continues the comic’s solid integration of technology, by having the dialogue bubbles change color depending on whether a God or human is speaking. It’s very imitative of text messages. The coloring, in general, glows and seems to correspond with the sunset, night time, and sunrise. Whatever time it is, Cloudia & Rex is an easy comic to enjoy and, at three issues, an easy comic to commit to.
Available now from Lion Forge.