Advance Review – Godshaper #1 (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artwork: Jonas Goonface
Lettering: Colin Bell
Release Date: 12th April 2017

A god for every person and a person for every god.  Well, more or less.  That’s the broad premise of Godshaper, a brand new series from Eisner-nominated writer Simon Spurrier and up-and-coming artist Jonas Goonface.  This first issue introduces us to Ennay, a godless social pariah who finds himself pairing up with Bud, a ‘personless’ god and traveling from town to town, doing their best to get by.

As you might imagine, this is a fairly ‘out there’ first issue, but Spurrier does an impressive job of easing us in gently to his rather odd version of the world where every person has their own individual god to help fulfill some of their basic needs.  Whether it’s storage, security, taking photographs, or even making ice cream – each god has its own unique talents, and Ennay is one of the select few people who have the ability to make modifications and adjustments to existing gods.  He is, effectively, a Godshaper.

There’s more than a passing nod to the British Comic Award-winning Motherless Oven by Rob Davis here, with a surrealist tone and some oddly comic snippets of dialogue along the way.   Goonface does a strong job with the visuals throughout, adopting a slightly caricaturized approach that keeps us suitably removed from any attempt at realism in the story, all while bathing his pages in a kaleidoscope of colours which help to inject the issue with a sense of wistful charm.  Colin Bell also deserves a tip of the hat for his lettering here, blending font sizes and styles effectively while keeping things suitably unobtrusive.

The story itself is a bit of an odd one, with Ennay and Bud indulging in a little grifting and some light thievery before crossing paths with amputee war veteran Clara – aka “Smudge” – and being quickly drawn into the conspiracy behind her dishonourable discharge and the downgrading of her god.  That said, as odd as the story may be, the characters are strong and the overall premise is engaging, so while there’s a definite feeling of playing ‘catch up’ throughout the course of this first issue, the pages keep turning regardless, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Spurrier does a fantastic job of rapid-fire world building here, fleshing out this bizarre reality and populating it with its own unique slang terms like “nogody” and “relict”, making it instantly feel far more real than it probably has any right to.  Ennay and Smudge are both intriguing, multi-layered protagonists, and the artwork is packed with expression and detail throughout. So, while it’s undeniably an odd premise for a story, the creative team flat-out manage to make it work, resulting in a new series that serves as a testament to the sheer creativity of creator-owned comics.  You can count me in with the rest of this one, that’s for god-damn sure.

Rating: 4.5/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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