Review by Ian Keogh
A God Up There Listening was designed as a digital comic, and that remains the best way to experience it, but those who need a physical copy can be exploited by this slim, but expensive hardcover. The short review is not to bother. It’s not bad, but neither is it good and for the money being asked you could buy at least a couple of books that are.
As is frequently the case with graphic novels sold under Thanos’ name, his participation is minimised. The concentration is on Thane his son, and, as the story begins, the man who’s finally succeeded in imprisoning Thanos in the absence of Adam Warlock. Thane has only recently learned who he is and what he can do, and is himself a severely conflicted being, but convinced he’s a good man despite his heritage. Given the opportunity to learn of his father, he takes that journey.
Rob Williams packs a fair amount of good ideas into the project, not least the concept of living beings whose DNA stores biographical memories for others, and the gross method by which that information is transmitted. Weighed against that is Thane’s character as a whiny drip with no instinct for self preservation and lacking the wit to know when he’s being manipulated. No-one wants to wake up and discover they’re the son of the galaxy’s greatest mass murderer, but for the plot to work Thane has to be depicted as the most naive doctor who’s ever existed, or does he just have a questionable grasp on sanity? Neither state makes for a fulfilling story.
The script provides artists Iban Coello and Paco Diaz with enough opportunity to supply some spectacular images as Thanos takes on Ego, the living planet, here in his planet with a bearded face incarnation rather than Kurt Russell. Neither respond. The illustration tells the story, but little more.
By the conclusion Thane has learned, but we haven’t and otherwise everything is as it was on the opening page. The entire enterprise comes across as a space filler.
To pad out an otherwise minimal page count this book also includes a Jim Starlin story filling in gaps concerning Thanos from stories he wrote decades previously, then progressing to a precis of Thanos’ march through assorted Infinity stories as a prelude to The Infinity Revelation. From others this exercise in grouting and polishing might be self-indulgent, but Starlin constructs viable entertainment from the premise, and chameleon artist Ron Lim provides an approximation of Starlin’s art style. It’s the bonus material, but far more satisfying than the lead feature.