AUTHOR: Micah Harris
ARTIST: Michael Goydos
PLOT: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and the Inklings face off against Aleister Crowley in a battle for the fate of Heaven and Earth.
HEAVEN’S WAR, a 2014 graphic novel by New Pulp author Micah Harris and artist Michael Gaydos, is a mind-swirling mix of history, mythology and philosophy. It’s a metaphysical, mystical, cerebral thriller starring C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and other of the Inklings, the real-life group that met regularly to drink and discuss literature, etc.
In HEAVEN’S WAR, the Inklings find themselves in a time-transcending battle with occultist Aleister Crowley.
He of the Left Hand Path is Hell-bent on swaying the war in Heaven between God and Lucifer. The Inklings are Heaven-bent on stopping him. Much of the story is confrontation between Crowley and the Inklings, rather than hyperbolic, supernatural action. However, the subtle, academia-meets-mysticism stand-off soon enough elevates from Earth to higher realms, into the “Air” (as in the current abode of Satan, the “Prince of the Air”), and even beyond.
It’s a compelling ride into moral philosophy and trippy theology, with historical and literary references woven into the plot along with the historic personages. Micah Harris’ able writing concocts a smooth, mysterious yarn with pulp storytelling the vehicle for thoughtful ponderings on the nature of existence and right-versus-wrong and more. It’s a curious tale whose unfolding maintains suspense through to the end. The characters are well-wrought fictionalizations of real heroes of literature and philosophy.
Gaydos’ black-and-white art is perfectly suited to Harris’ tale of secret, supernatural history and its gnosticesque hidden truths. The artwork is simultaneously conservative and distinctive, capturing stark images both mundane and transcendent, earthly and heavenly, with graphic storytelling that conveys the action without bullying plot out of the way in favor of look-at-me hyperstylishness. It’s spot-on, not ostentatious, but every bit effective.
HEAVEN’S WAR is a terrific graphic novel blending theology, literature and occultism with lucid philosophizing. It’s deep but not opaque. It’s mysteries don’t confound but, rather, compel the continued turning of the pages.
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