Review of American Gods, Volume 2: My Ainsel by Neil Gaiman, and P Craig Russell

About

The bizarre road trip across America continues as our heroes gather reinforcements for the imminent god war!

Shadow and Wednesday leave the House on the Rock and continue their journey across the country where they set up aliases, meet new gods, and prepare for war. 

The Hugo, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula award-winning novel and hit Starz television series by Neil Gaiman is adapted as a graphic novel!

Collects issues #1-9 of American Gods: My Ainsel.

image via nerdist

Stats

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hardcover
  • 232 pages
  • Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Dark Horse Books

My Thoughts

“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods, Vol 2 My Ainsel has the dubious task of portraying the middle of a book. Often when reading a story, the center is the boring part. The part that is not the exciting beginning or the escalating and profound conclusion. No. The middle is the part where the characters walk. If you are reading Lord of the Rings, odds are they are walking. It is significant but taken as a slice of the bigger narrative pie; the walking is boring.

Not so much with My Ainsel.

Don’t get me wrong; this slice of the narrative is not as exciting as the first American Gods Vol. 1. Or, dare say, will it be as impressive as the not-yet-written Vol. 3 as the denouement of the American Gods book plays out. But, this story was an exciting and faithful adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s much-beloved novel. Oddly enough, instead of walking, this is the story of a long road trip. It is a vital part of the narrative, a needed pause. The characters, mainly Shadow and Wednesday, circle the wagons and gather the forces. The story also chronicles Shadow’s time in Lakeside and touches on the parallel dimension that is accessible to gods. Because the narrative is pausing, the artwork has to do the heavy lifting to progress the story forward and create compelling visuals. I think that this is where the volume shines. The artwork is beautiful. I am a fan of Gaiman’s comic style, expressive, artistic, and a touch wonky. It isn’t perfect. Some of the character renderings are a bit off. For example, the young girls Shadow interacts with on a bus ride look much older than their 14 years. It can throw the reader out of the story. I did appreciate the depictions of Las Vegas as they were colorful and otherworldly. They are what someone thinks Vegas should look like, and in that way are useful. Although, as someone from Vegas I always find depictions of Vegas as some kaleidoscope adult dream world a description that lacks in imagination. But, in terms of the story, I liked the scene quite a bit.

Overall, this adaptation was excellent. It wasn’t perfect; it had slight pacing, art, and story issues. But as far as a middle goes, it excelled. It did the original story justice, and undoubtedly will bring more American Gods fans into the fold.

I am looking forward to the third volume to see the artwork and how it further adapts the source material. If you are new to the series, congratulations, stay awhile. American Gods is a treat.

As a side note and a bit of cleverness on Neil Gaiman’s part, My Ainsel is a Northumbrian folk tale and means My own self. I doubt that was a coincidence.


Procurement

I received a copy of this from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for my open and honest review.


About the Author

Neil Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre, and films. His works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book

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