Review: Godshaper #1
What if all of a sudden, one day, the aspects of daily life that make it easier, such as electricity, were to just suddenly stop working? Now, in the present year of 2017, there are actual gods that have been manifested as personal helpers (how, it has been made unclear, as of yet at least) and, as it says early in the first few pages, “A god for every person. And a person for every god.” Each of them can contribute to a variety of needs to their human counterpart, varying from actual powers to simply printing out smut to sell. Such is the way of world in Godshaper, the new series from the incredibly talented voice of Simon Spurrier and the electric illustrations of Jonas Goonface. As much as the premise and world makes it known that gods fill the present world, the main focus is drawn towards Ennay, a ‘nogody,’ or, someone who doesn’t have a god as a companion.
Spurrier’s script is fast paced and dipped in a deep fried batter of an American Southern-type drawl, topped with slang and quick-witted. He gets the exposition out of the way in a mere two frames but is smart at filling in little curiosities here and there. For example, the cute and mysterious presence of Bud, the god without a person, whom is described as being a reclit: a god whose owner has died and should fade away in a few days now that they have nobody to worship them (presumably keeping it alive and well). Bud just so happens to be with Ennay, which makes their relationship all the more interesting since they both are ‘outsiders’ of their respective groups. Ennay is a ‘godshaper,’ someone who is incredibly rare, shunned by society, yet has the ability to physically alter the appearance and reconfigure the powers of the multitude of gods. The duo appear to be drifting around, from city to city, and are about to get themselves involved with the whereabouts of a large amount of missing supplies by the military.
Goonface’s art is spectacular. It’s a perfect fit for this high-concept story that is filled with liveliness and an energy that is a great one-two punch with the free-flowing words of Spurrier. Each of the gods is a vibrant, striking colour that is outlined with a thin white stripping and stands out consistently from their imaginative and slightly warped animal bodies. Their presence throughout causes the book to seem like the world is experiencing a rainbow-melted acid trip; and that is a compliment, for sure. Colin Bell’s lettering also does a great job at filtering the amount of word balloons and sound effects with the busy illustrated frames (with some notable, funny and literal sound effects as well). Bell’s placements allow for the script and art to continue to flow at a quick pace.
Goonface also does this very playful thing with colour, outlining some of the frames with the colours within the frames. It’s as if a particular source within is bleeding out on the edges, creating a wide array of enhanced emotion, depending on the scene. A couple sequences capture this dance with colour. One in particular, in which Ennay is hired to transfigure a local salesman’s god (to make it appear more ‘professional’ for an upcoming important sale), the colour green of the god and the maroon of Ennay’s clothes and skin, each respectively take up half of the frame as Ennay struggles to gain control of the god. Once Ennay fuses his hand within the god, the frame turns into a fully surrounded maroon edging, and finally, the page breaks free of its borders, as Ennay, the god handyman, goes to work.
Another great sequence is when Ennay is shown in his musical stage persona: Cantik (which is Indonesian for beautiful or lovely after a quick, curious internet search), a glam rock, androgynous presence who revels in his pure talent, without the need for gods to enhance himself. After Cantik’s explosion of noise, alongside a spread of purples, blues, oranges, reds, and yellows, Ennay is frequently placed multiple times amongst a double-page spread of a frozen crowd, being outspoken about bands who use gods to enhance their sound in profanity-laced tirades, making out with a variety of passerby, and reinforcing his own respect for letting the music be as natural as possible. With all this talk and appearance of performance and gender fluidity, whether it is intentional or not, the use of the combination of a soft blue and pink for this sequence is rather perfect.
It’s always a blast to see artists have fun with the medium and be playful with their work. The mere flashing of bright, sometimes pastel-like colours may seem overwhelming to some, and in certain books, but it really works here with the energy that both Spurrier and Goonface have provided on every page. There are other great double-page and single page spreads as well that show how Godshaper is in very trusting, talented hands.
Without giving too much away from the story, most of what appears to be the driving force for the title happens towards the final third of the first issue with the introduction of another character who has got themselves caught up in a conspiracy. The first two-thirds do a great job at setting up the world, without much really known, as well as making Ennay and his mute god Bud already likable as a duo. By the final few pages, it definitely looks like the enigmatic craziness of the first issue of Godshaper is only just the beginning.
Story: Simon Spurrier Art: Jonas Goonface Letters: Colin Bell
Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.