Avigon: Gods & Demons
Avigon is a clockwork creation created by Pulsifer, who looks like a mad scientist but compares herself to God. In supplying her creations to various nobles, she must navigate a complex web of status and competition. Avigon demonstrates the pinnacle of Pulsifer’s creative genius, but to maintain her position in the court, she commits Avigon to battles she doesn’t believe in.
In Avigon: Gods & Demons, the clockworks are kept in a pleasure palace, protected from those who would harm them but also from having any choice or responsibility. Avigon has little respect for her master and less for her own unwillingness to act on her doubts. She struggles for recognition as a person, but she’s bound to obey orders. Still, there’s an attraction to being safe, even if one is a slave. Finally, she leaves to search for her place in the world.
Along the way she meets a variety of people. As an innocent, she doesn’t yet know how to distinguish love from caring from possession. She also risks becoming run-down, a literalized version of the depression we all can feel when we’re alone and uncertain. Certain events also suggest a tendency to destroy those we think we love. Ultimately, Avigon learns to compromise and to accept the positives of a situation she may have misunderstood, coming to a hard-worn self-acceptance.
The introduction, by Voltaire (Oh My Goth!) calls the art style Goth-meets-anime, which is accurate. The world established is beautifully chilly, with remote figures. The people are more robotic than the creations, in a reflection of how trapped they are in their petty squabbles and pointless rankings. This remoteness contributes to the feeling of a faraway place, with different rules, as well as mimicking the lead character’s emotional state.
Artist and adapter Jimmie Robinson’s lines are deceptively simple, using a minimum of detail to fully encompass figures that are beautiful or frightening or amusing or fantastic, as the story requires. His work is so accomplished that it takes a good deal of attention to realize how talented he is and how much skill is on display.
I was surprised to gradually notice that the majority of characters are female. It’s not important to the story that Avigon’s creator is a woman, but it’s interesting to see how the gender both doesn’t matter and provides a nice contrast to so many other male-heavy comic book worlds.
In comparison to the earlier, shorter version, the expanded book has much more detail, making the setting more complex, complete, and substantial. More characters provide more layers of interaction and more insight into how a variety of beings negotiate this world. It’s no longer just Avigon’s story, and the greater space available allows for more nuanced developments in plot and character.