Review – God Country #4 (Image Comics)

Published: Image Comics
Writer: Donny Cates
Artwork: Geoff Shaw (pencils and inks)/Jason Wordie (colors)
Release Date: April 19, 2017

Well folks, after a long hiatus I am back sitting in the reviewer chair and it feels good. Not only that, but what a comic to come back with!

Having had no prior knowledge of God Country, other than it grabbing my eye a few times at my local comic shop, I have to say I’m hooked. I just read the first four issues in one sitting and still want more; I couldn’t swipe fast enough to go from page to page! I’ll admit that I’m fairly unfamiliar with the creative team behind this masterpiece but I will tell you this after reading these four issues they are definitely on my radar to watch out for in the future.

It seems that Donny Cates has taken a unique approach to mixing fantasy and reality with this story. You have the stark reality of what a disease like Alzheimer’s can do to not only the individual effected but also the family around him, mixed with a mysterious sword that restores what the disease has taken. This premise gives Cates the ability to weave a fantastic tale that can take us almost anywhere with Emmet and his incredible magic sword Valofax. But at the same time, it also humanizes the story and makes the characters memorable and real to the reader, to the point where it’s difficult not to become engaged in the story and develop feelings for these characters that are on the pages before you.

With the wonderful dialogue that Cates used between the characters, especially Valofax and Emmet, I became totally sucked into the story as it unfolded, feeling like I was right there on the ground beside them as every event, good or bad, took place. I truly felt for the characters, especially Emmet, and with this latest issue we get to see him reunited with, and then losing, someone close to him all over again.  You really feel his pain and emotion both through the writing and through the visual storytelling of artist Geoff Shaw.

Sometimes in the world of comics, you can have title that will have extraordinary writing with lackluster art, or vice versa. Where this book is concerned however, you have extraordinary writing and artwork; it’s a true melding of both mediums, and when that happens, you can’t help but be drawn deeper into the story. Geoff Shaw has the ability to capture emotions in ways that are subtle yet amazing. From full facial expressions to just capturing the feeling of a moment in a character’s eyes. For an artist to be able to do that speaks volumes.

Also, every character has their own unique qualities.  From Emmet’s family members to the Gods themselves, each has a distinctive look befitting to their place. This issue brings Aristus’ brother Balegrim, the God of Hell, into the story and boy does he look the part! Jason Wordie’s use of colors also is a tremendous addition to this creative work. The tones and colors really set each environment apart from each other, truly visually defining each setting.

If you’re not already reading this creative masterpiece then you’re missing out on what could be one of this year’s best works. I give this story high marks all around; it has a great story that is deep, personal and full of fantasy, along with artwork that captures each moment just as the words intend. And man, if the final page of this latest chapter doesn’t have you impatiently waiting for issue five, then you better check your pulse. I don’t want to have to wait another month. I want it now!

Rating: 5/5.

[Click to Enlarge]

The writer of this piece was: Shane Hoffman (aka “Hoff”)
You can also find Hoff on Twitter.

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