Axl Johnson emerges from a
suburban bottle store, carrying beer. His
flatmates Zeb and Gaia trail after him. Axl is looking up, where a meteor shower is lighting
up the sky.Suddenly a car is bearing
down on Axl.He dives out of the way, in
the knick of time.The woman driving the
car, Stacey, looks to back up, to
reverse over the prone Axl, but Gaia is in the way.So she slips a dagger into her boot, gets out
of the car, and feigns profuse apology.Axl, of course, invites the woman who has just tried to kill him to a
party at his house. In this way begin the 21st birthday celebrations
for Axl Johnson.
We meet Axl’s
brothers – Mike, with his wife Valerie, looking at the shooting stars,
worrying; Anders, talking a
lycra-clad promo girl out of her huntress uniform and into his bed; Ty, taking it on the chin as a woman
dumps him, in the nicest possible way.These are the brothers Johnson – and we start to get hints of their
powers – Anders’ power to seduce with words; and Ty freezing wine in a glass.
finds himself outside the party in his flat, on a trampoline, getting to know
Stacey more intimately.As they kiss she
pulls the dagger from her boot and is about to strike when…An earthquake hits, throwing them both from
the trampoline.As people rush from the
house, Stacey dagger is recovered by Zeb.Seeing he chance to kill Axl is gone, Stacey disappears into the night.
The next day. Mike is orchestrating the gathering of the
brothers as another Johnson, Olaf,
makes one of his typically late arrivals. Ty rounds up Anders (very much the black sheep
of the family) and Axl and it is off to the forest they go – for a purpose
still being kept secret from Axl.
It is in the forest,
in front of his brothers and Olaf (who he is told is his grandfather, not his
cousin) that Axl is taught the true nature of who his family are – the human
incarnations of Norse Gods. Naturally Axl doesn’t warm to this idea at first –
suspecting it is some kind of elaborate prank – but after some displays of Godly
power involving the throwing of swords and the playing of Paper, Rock,
Scissors, he starts to get on board - and starts to learn of his history – of
Norse Gods settling in Central Hawkes Bay.
The reason they
are in the forest is so that Axl too can becomes a God. Eventually he is persuaded
to remove his clothes, step into the circle of stones from Asgard and to raise
the family sword above his head.At
which point in time he is struck by lightning from a clear blue sky.The forest fills with light.When it subsides everyone turns to Olaf, the
family Oracle, to announce which God Axl has been come.But Olaf has been blown off his feet and is
speaking only Norse gibberish, only one word of which has any relevance to the
proceedings here: “Odin.”
And with this
everything changes for the brothers, because if Axl is Odin, then their world
just got turned on its head.
As they wait for
Olaf to rejoin them in the land of the living and clarify the situation, life
goes on for the Johnson family – which means Axl’s 21st, at Mike’s
house. For Axl this is a period of frustration because suddenly his family are
treating him different because he may or may not be this Odin dude, but it’s
not like he’s suddenly got any super-powers or anything.Even worse, he’s not allowed to tell anyone
about his God-hood.
across town, there are a group of women – including Stacey – who are not
pleased that they have missed their chance to kill Axl.The woman seemingly in charge, Agnetha, is adamant they have missed
their chance – now they must wait and see, along with everyone else.
is, on one level, what you would expect from a typical Kiwi 21st: a
lot of people drinking to excess and behaving badly.But there are things going on on other
levels: Olaf is still passed out in Axl’s old bedroom, where Axl learns that
their mother and father were Gods and that he shot through and she walked into
a forest to become a tree – treasured moments in Johnson family history; then
Anders turns up with a couple of promo girls in tow; which leads to a fight
with Mike about the nature and responsibilities of being a God.
finally regains consciousness, there is a hurried congress of the brothers/Gods
to learn the story of Odin’s return, which breaks down to the fact that there
are a series of signs that must be fulfilled before it can categorically be
stated that He has returned.Axl ticks
all the boxes on these signs – except the last one: “he shall have two hearts –
the heart pf man and a heart of the earth”.Axl, as far as he is aware, only has one heart.
Not thrilled at
the way this whole Odin thing is turning out for him, Axl is keen to leave the
party.Gaia, on the verge of
telling/showing Axl of the feelings she harbours for him, is keen that they
leave together.And for a second this
looks on the cards, until Axl feels someone looking at him.He turns to see one of the Goddesses – Michele – in the guise of one of the
promo girls.Gaia is forgotten in a
hurry, as Michele lures Axl away from the party and into the night.
When they learn
Axl has gone, Mike, Anders and Ty give chase – with Mike actually using his
Godly powers as Ullr God of the Hunt to guide them.It is Ty who arrives just in time to see
Michele fire an arrow into Axl’s chest.
At the hospital
Axl survives his wounding, but the metal arrow-head remains wedged in his chest
– giving him the heart of the earth that completes the signs: Axl is Odin, all
father, leader of souls.
But there is one
final twist, because as Odin Axl gains not powers, but a Quest: to find the
human incarnation Odin’s true love – the Goddess Frigg – and to be reunited
with her.If he dies before achieving
this Quest, then all his family will die along with him.