Meet the new gods. Same as the old gods.
Tenoch is the Aztec god of war and fire. Until the Aztecs were defeated by the Spaniards, he ruled their empire.
That was then.
Now, his powers lessened greatly by the fact practically no one believes in him, he is approached by the goddess of death who wants to reclaim the Aztec empire.
Tenoch, who shares a small apartment with Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, mulls over what the goddess has offered.
“Our people turned into a band of paupers. They live in the streets, begging for northern coins,” Tenoch says to Quetzalcoatl. “Selling poison to our own children, and killing each other for scraps!”
But could they rule again? How would they bring back the heyday of Aztec power and prestige?
This title (“Tenoch: God of Fire”) is not just about gods. It’s also about European colonization and the loss of identity for those being colonized.
The invaders brought their religion, destroying temples and anything they considered pagan. The old gods were almost completely obliterated.
As the conquerors pillaged the Aztec empire, theologians were debating whether Native Americans had souls. It turns out it didn’t really mean anything either way because the natives were forced into hard labor, either in the mines or in the fields.
It’s been said that Latin America is a beggar sitting on a gold mine. That’s in part true because of how Westerners drained every drop of plunder they could get their hands on to be sent back to the imperial seat.
“Tenoch: God of Fire” can be read as history and there’s a brief essay at the end of the comic book which includes:
“… diseases carried by the Europeans had been spread among the Mexica nations, and a smallpox plague wiped out most of the citizens of Tenochtitlan [the Aztec capital], debilitating their defenses,” it reads. “What followed was one of the most brutal and effective genocides in the history of mankind.”
The script, by Daniel D. Calvo, is brisk and engaging. He captures the essence of down-on-their-luck gods, deftly intertwining history and religion.
Serj D’Lima’s pencils and inks are top notch and Matheus Huve’s colors pop on the page. Mason Solimine does a solid job lettering.
If the first issue is any indication, this title should make it to the short list of every comic book reader or student of Mexican history out there.
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