REVIEW: 'Fallen' #1 by Matt Ringel and Henry Ponciano



Writer: Matt Ringel

Artist: Henry Ponciano

Letters: Toben Racicot

Publisher: Red 5 Comics

Release Date: February 22, 2023

Cover Price: $3.95

Casper Clay, an ancient warrior and immortal servant of Zeus turned private detective, navigates the murky depths of a criminal underworld to solve the murder of a god at the hands of a mysterious killer. As he gets closer to unraveling the truth he learns that there may be more at stake than solving a case.


★★★★☆ (4/5)

'Fallen' #1 delivers a slick crime thriller featuring fallen gods on earth living as criminals among mortals to try and stay hidden. Zeus's trusted servant, Casper Clay, must navigate the underworld to solve a shocking murder that changes the hierarchy of the earth-bound gods. Told in a well-paced neo-noir fashion, Matt Ringel leans on some familiar mafia tropes that line up well with the personalities of the living gods - Zeus, Odin, Loki, and Apollo. Zeus is obviously the Don with help from Athena and his wild card biker son Loki and the drug dealing club owner Apollo. As a fan of mafia films and crime stories, Ringel hits the right notes with this seedy reimagined look at gods as gangsters which isn't too far from what they were in their legendary mythos. 

Casper Clay is hinted at being the focal point but it doesn't seem that way right away. He appears as a bit player and only after the murder happens does he begin to narrate the story. The story's set-up is fine but it doesn't become his perspective until later in the issue. If he's going to investigate this crime, you would think he'd be the voice the reader hears from page one. Overall, it doesn't make the events less thrilling just a bit confusing as to who's going to lead the reader going forward 

New York in 1986 is a very specific time frame, one that I kind of remember for the proliferation of mobs still thriving in the Big Apple. So it makes perfect sense that the gods would fit in naturally. Henry Ponciano does for New York what 'Miami Vice' did for South Beach, a shadowy neo-noir landscape full of darkness highlighted by splashes of neon colors. The designs are great fully integrating the urban surroundings as monuments to these mythic figures as they're redesigned as mafiosos and dirtbags. 

'Fallen' is off to a compelling start blending great gods as a crime family on earth sent spiraling by a mysterious murder. Who did it? Why? And how did these gods get here from the ether? All questions should keep readers glued to the page. 'Fallen' is a rock-solid piece of crime fiction that's both familiar and engrossing.