There's something truly disturbing about the sweet, smiling face that's about to bash your noggin in. That's kind of the feel that I get from this book. The rich color and wondrous vibrancy of the characters in such dour and desperate surroundings fill me with such incredible joy, and then Simon Spurrier crashes in on that joy with what can only be equated to a Martin-esque sense of morbid glee. Truthfully, I can never be really upset by any story that can flip itself around so much without resorting to hackneyed tricks of emotionally manipulative BS, but does so by looking at life, holding the mirror steady and still on the most inner workings our ourselves, and opening its truths for us.
I have mentioned Spurrier's other series, The Spire, before, and though I really enjoyed it, Godshaper is light years beyond it in its honesty. The world we're presented with is harsh and unforgiving, and all that the characters in it want to do is fill it with joy. The plot has been moving quite well, and the forces that Ennay has managed to keep at bay for so long as a loner are catching up to him and his small crew. I know so many people who have a little Ennay inside of them, who yearn to scream free of the societal shackles and just have their pure celebration. The wonderful setting of the church where such exultation is supposed to take place is a great counterpoint to what happens in it, and there's a line within this issue that is the single most depressing thing I've yet read here. It makes me want to scream, thrash, and destroy it because deeply I know its truth. The intelligence and bravery for an author to find such a thing and put it out there while still managing to balance it with delightful wit is commendable, and I'm already eagerly awaiting the next issue.
Jonas Goonface has such a deft touch with this material. The subtlety of the work - from mannerisms to expressions to the simply outstanding composition - all seems so prefect and right. This world can't exist without both of these talented storytellers blending so well. There's one panel that absolutely gave me shivers, just before the big showdown where Goonface uses a negative swap to absolutely stunning effect, drawing (as it were) a line in the sand where you know things are about to get crazy. It's an awesome moment, and just the capping touch to such a solid piece of work.
I'm digging the hell out of this series. Folks who like stories of the beat poets and those who've lead artistic movements of peace will be sure to find a lot to love here. And if that's not you, it's still worth picking up, because I could find no better introduction to opening your horizons than this work.
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