The world can be a cruel, ungodly place, but being ungodly in a world of gods does you no favors in this amazing series from Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface. This team is telling a story about outsiders, those who society would rather not see, rather not think about. Folks who have very useful traits, but are seen as less than human by those that need them.
Damn it, America.
I mean, as a white cis male, I have literally every societal advantage and my son will, too, and it burns me like hell when I see others not understand privilege. You won't be able to read this book without seeing the truth of the metaphor, and if you're put off by this opening at all, I hope you still read it. Just enjoy some good work and let the message be there. And I will say this: It is damn fine work.
This and Spire were great viewpoints of outsiders from Spurrier, but I think he's refined his game by a staggering degree on this book. Ennay is a rich, engaging character who makes you root for him constantly. The supporting cast is varied and interesting, and the plot moves with a satisfying pace. What I love is that not everything is dour and doom. Although the life he and other shapers lead is rough, there's room for laughter and joy - and not only for the characters. There are some brilliantly scripted gags peppered throughout the text for the readers, as well. It's life, which as we all know isn't just one-note throughout, but a rich tapestry of the comedic and tragic. Just because one is overwhelming, there's no need to forget that the other exists. It's so enjoyable to find a writer who recognizes that.
Jonas Goonface is one of my new favorite artists. Not only does he perfectly match the tone of the script, but the delicate addition of text of his own is wildly entertaining. A subtle "toouuuch" or the hilarious "Steal!" are relics of a bygone age that often feels destined for parody, except that he applies it with such deft skill that you can't help but giggle at each one. The simplicity of his designs belie the intuitive movement that he captures, and this is some of the best framing and composition I've ever seen.
Look, I'm not going to convince anyone of really anything writing reviews of funny books online, but Spurrier and Goonface have put together something so incredibly engaging that it will help give some people perspective that they may not have otherwise gained. That's the beauty of art in any form; it allows you to connect with someone you'll never meet, sharing a bit of their soul in the communal practice of creation and consumption of media. Oh, and enjoy the hell out of this fun and warm book.
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