I sit here looking at a blank page, and I don’t know what to write. It happens from time to time, and it’s not always for the same reasons. Sure, sometimes, it’s because I’ve been up too late and have a deadline that’s either just ahead or slightly behind me (Sorry, boss.), but this is one of the times when I’m struck dumb by the sheer power of a story told well. I’ve often quoted the line, “Art is how people communicate where language fails,” and it’s certainly failing me know. There’s no sentence, no contrivance of words, no metaphor nor limerick wherein I can give you even an inkling of the experience that I’ve had reading the final chapter of this run. What I can tell you is that it’s a story that many have tried to tell in myriad guises and not one that I can think of has been able to do it as well as Spurrier and company. This is a book that can open your world just a crack, to allow something new and different in, a shift in perspective only achievable by moving you without realizing it until you realize that you’re looking where you’ve been.
There’s not much more I can say without bursting the delicate effect that’s going on here, but this issue has just about everything you’ve been yearning for. This world that we’ve been given is an often hateful place, filled with the scrabbling and climbing that mars the best image of humankind. There’s no cleaning of that here, just a simple acceptance of all the pain, rage, tears, and sorrow that are implied by this work. It’s the human experience that we’re witnessing, and a welcoming of all that it entails. There have been some winding roads in the run, with moments that felt like Tolkien talking about clouds, but when you finish this issue, you’ll realize the wider purpose in it which is very, very cool. The ending makes me want to immediately reread every page and cherish it as much now as I hadn’t realized I had the first time through.
The artwork continues its remarkable quality, and even more so now that I can recognize that though the gods were often foremost in the minds of everyone in the story, they somehow never took over visually. This is a story about humanity, told in a unique way to encourage that perspective shift I’ve drummed over and over so far. The great, beast-like gods are never bigger than the women and men who wield them, which is an incredibly impressive feat when the world is so inviting to the imagination. By taming them, Jonas Goonface allowed the story to shine on its emotional merits without feeling the need to drive anything through the fantastic aspects of it. The emotional range on the pages is exemplary, and I don’t see how anyone could walk away truly unaffected.
I’m sitting here looking at a full page, and I don’t know if I’ve said enough. I don’t think I’ve approached even half the high I’m feeling from this work right now in any of the words I’ve struck onto this digital page. Language fails me, so go and pick up this art.
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