Review – Gwar: Orgasmageddon #1 (Dynamite)

Publisher: Dynamite
Writer(s): Matt Miner & Matt Maguire
Artist(s): Jonathan Brandon Sawyer & Matt Maguire
Colorist: Marissa Louise
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Release Date: 7th June 2017

Okay, so before I get stuck into this review, I want to quickly clarify that my knowledge of rock band GWAR is, well, fairly limited to say the least. In fact, my only real experience of them comes from their frequent appearances on MTV’s Beavis & Butthead back in the day, with the couch-bound twosome revelling in their costumed pageantry and trademark in-your-face style of rock.

However, Matt Miner – the co-writer of this brand new Kickstarter-funded series, currently being published by Dynamite – assures us that a prior knowledge of GWAR isn’t a prerequisite for enjoying Orgasmageddon, and given Miner’s impressive track record on the likes of Toe Tag Riot and Critical Hit, I’m more than happy to hurl myself into the deep end here and see what happens.

After a quick recap of the origins of GWAR and an introduction to the band members and assorted side-characters, we are rapidly launched into the realm of all-out carnage as GWAR’s nemesis (or one of them, anyway), Sawborg Destructo crashes one of their gigs with bad intentions on his mind. He is quickly followed by Mr Perfect (another nemesis), forcing the band to escape into the timestream in Perfect’s giant, phallic-shaped “Meat Rocket”.

It’s all pretty ‘out there’ as I’m sure you can imagine, with profanity, violent outbursts and bright, primary colours aplenty. It feels like there are sly nods along the way that GWAR fans will get a kick out of, but as a complete novice I’ll admit that I never felt ‘left out’ as a result of my lack of prior knowledge.

The humour in the script, provided by Miner and GWAR member Matt Maguire, varies greatly throughout the issue. Some gags missed their mark spectacularly, while others had me literally laughing out loud while reading. In particular, I got a real kick out of the ‘collateral damage’ of the GWAR fans at the gig, with them variously being stomped on, hacked up and – in one brilliant moment – picked up and used as a makeshift club. In spite of the blood and gore, there’s an definite cartoony feel to the violence that perfectly mirrors the tone of a comic that never threatens to take itself too seriously.

The artistic duties are split between Jonathan Brandon Sawyer and co-writer Maguire, and while there’s a stark difference between the pair’s styles, the story manages to cook up a neat little explanation for the differing aesthetics.  Sawyer’s work is a lot more polished, as you’d likely expect, but Maguire does a genuinely impressive job during his scenes, with a slightly more exaggerated style that works well alongside the story.

The story is a little rough around the edges, being described almost perfectly in the solicitation blurb as “Bill and Ted on bath salts”, featuring our eponymous band hopping from time period to time period, interjecting themselves into world events in typically violent fashion. It’s entertaining enough, if a little slight, but definitely succeeds in mirroring the wild style that hasn’t become synonymous with the band themselves.

Ultimately then, while it’s likely not going to be to everyone’s tastes, GWAR: Orgasmageddon provides a sensory overload of violence, excess and in-your-face visual insanity, throwing subtlety well and truly out the window as we take a ridiculous ride with one of the world’s most unusual rock bands

Rating: 3.5/5.

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