Review – Gogor #4 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Created by: Ken Garing
Release Date: 14th August 2019

Armano continues his quest as Keeper of Gogor, heading to Animalea and the city of Azimuth. However, when he and Wexil arrive, things are very different from the way Wexil remembers them. It seems the influence of something sinister has taken hold of the people of Azimuth, something possibly connected to the Domus. Deciding that his vision must have brought him to Azimuth for a reason, Armano opts to go undercover and investigate the strange walled city.

Last month, the pesky inconvenience of my getting married unfortunately prevented me from having time to review issue #3 of Gogor. Happily, I’ve been given the opportunity to talk to you about issue #4 and I’m so glad because this is a great series. There’s a good all-ages appeal to this tale as the narrative works on several levels. You can easily take this series at face value and just enjoy it as a fantasy adventure, much in the Jim Henson mould of storytelling. Alternatively, as a more mature *cough* reader, you can appreciate the sometimes subtle and sometimes incredibly blatant socio-political commentary.

The core narrative of this series is a tried-and-true sci-fi trope: the invasion and assimilation by a more advanced civilisation. And as with all of these invasion stories, they are really just reflections of ourselves and what we are doing to our own world and the people’s and creatures that inhabit it. The socio-political statements in this series have never been very far from the surface and this issue makes no attempt to disguise the fact that it’s ridiculing Western society’s dependency on crass commercialism, and the mindless herd mentality we have developed in our need to have the newest, shiniest, whatever it is, this month. The dig at Apple Inc. in this issue is so blatant that even the most socially stunted snapchat devotee could pick it up.

In a way, I actually felt quite uncomfortable reading this issue because I was sat there thinking about how much time I spend staring at a glowing screen rather than being in the real world. The irony being that I’m writing this review on my iPad Pro whilst listening to the electro synth stylings of Gunship on my Bluetooth headset connected to my iPhone while my wife watches the latest episode of The Handmaid’s Tale on the TV…

I consider myself to have a good work life balance and I make it a point of pride to spend as much time with my children as I can, but I can’t help feeling that as a family we spend too little time exploring the world outside the living room. Maybe this series will inspire a few more people to get out there and log off for a while.

From a purely aesthetic point of view, this is a very captivating book. Ken Garing, has given us a world(s) that is inhabited by a wealth of characters who, as I have said before, could easily have come from the workshops of Jim Henson. The actual island worlds of Altara are also fabulous to visit, each one having its own feel, architecture, flora and fauna. This isn’t artwork that is massively detailed, but it is confident, full of life and warmth and emotion. There’s something that inspires a sense of nostalgia in me when I read Gogor.

This is going to seem like something of a stretch so bear with me (you’ll get the pun in a moment). When I was a kid, I read a lot of the old Rupert The Bear comic strips that were drawn by Mary Tourtel and Alfred Bestall. And whilst Garing’s style is very different from Tourtel and Bestall, I get the same comforting feeling reading Gogor that I did reading Rupert many, many years ago. It’s very easy to slip into the story of Gogor and be carried away.

This is a series that is much cleverer than it seems to want to admit to being in places, and as I’ve said above, it will definitely appeal to all ages. The artwork will appeal to all, especially those who are old enough to remember the good old days of Jim Henson, and this is a story that has the ability to keep us on the hook for a long while yet. A definite recommendation for lovers of fantasy stories the way they used to be told.

Rating: 4/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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