The one-shot “Poseidon IX” #1 is a perfectly fine comic book. It expands the universe of “IXth Generation” by focusing on the God of the Sea and his narcissistic kingdom as it faces the threat of an ancient creature attacking its shores. Tini Howard gives Poseidon a playfully self-involved point of view and artist Phillip Sevy turns in some solid art. The downside is that the story feels inconsequential as the stakes don’t really feel heightened and the results of the action aren’t explored in the issue itself.
As a protagonist, Poseidon is an entertaining character. Egotistical enough to sleep with women and cyborgs made in his own image, the king — under Howard — is charming without being overbearing. His voice drives almost all of the narrative within these pages and the writer gives the ruler of Triton a big action set piece against which to bounce the character, who believes he already knows everything. As the unidentified creature from the deep continues to bump up against Poseidon, the ruler transfers his consciousness to a flesh-and-bone body to use as bait for the leviathan, an interesting use of the transference abilities afforded by the IXth generation. Sevy gives readers a real terror of a creature, designing a Cthulhu-esque nightmare from the depths of the sea. His art style is sparse with defined linework within even shadows, which allows colorist Jeremy Colwell the opportunity to shape and define the art through shading and lighting, giving some flatter images a more rounded and three dimensional feel.
The problem with this one-shot is that nothing feels consequential. Poseidon is able to neutralize the threat with minimal effort. Though he is charming, he doesn’t take the challenge very seriously, which saps the big showdown of any real consequence. Since the ruler cannot die, the “sacrifice” he makes as human bait isn’t affecting. The king captured the creature and, at the end, the lead character treats the overall experience as a minor annoyance. No one is changed for the better or worse by the end of the issue, leaving everything with a very flat feeling once the story concludes. Sevy’s art also feels low-stakes; aside from the reveal of the creature towards the end, most of his perspective choices are basic, with sparse detail in the backgrounds. It’s not bad but, with the story not having a real difference in the lives of the characters, these visual decisions become more noticeable. Troy Peteri’s letters are also a curious choice, with a very organic lettering style for a world noticeably devoid of any type of organic matter.
These things compound to make this one-shot feel like a B-plot of the main book, which could have been resolved in the background of another issue in a few pages. If there is a larger plan in place to use this creature as a weapon, then this will be an interesting development, but even the characters treat the threat as little more than a curiosity. With that point-of-view for readers, it’s difficult to feel that this creature could be any type of difference-making macguffin down the road. “Poseidon IX” #1 is a book for readers who are looking to have a complete view of the IXth Generation universe, but new readers looking to dive into this world may want to start elsewhere first.