I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got 4 new comics plus a hard cover collection:

  • Berlin – 15
  • The Authority Prime – 6
  • Savage Dragon – 135
  • Usagi Yojimbo – 110
  • Shanna The She-Devil HC (I decided I needed some Frank Cho in my collection)
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

    “Godland – Celestial Edition One” by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli

    I just went back and looked so I know it was August 2006 when I sampled an issue of “Godland”. It was issue twelve, which is the end of this book, and I wasn’t too fond of it. I didn’t hate it either but it left me cold. Last year when they put out this oversized hardcover collected edition I figured maybe I’ll give it a try from the beginning. I’m glad I did because I like it much better now.

    In “Godland” the writer (Joe Casey) and artist (Tom Scioli) are working in the tradition of the Jack Kirby “cosmic” comic. That is a path that not many have chosen but they do it justice here. When I first read issue twelve back in the summer of ’06 it read to me as a second rate Kirby story. I saw nothing special that interested me. In reading the whole story I see that they really do have interesting ideas of their own that they bring to the table.

    “Godland” is the story of an astronaut, Commander Adam Archer, who was part of a disastrous mission to Mars where he was the lone survivor. Plus was given cosmic powers by some space aliens who were waiting for him on the red planet. He comes back to Earth and decides to become a super hero. He has his three sisters with him as his support team and soon an alien who looks like a giant dog shows up to help Archer find his purpose in the cosmic scheme of things.

    I’m not one of those people who find the villains more interesting than the heroes but this book has some really interesting villains. They don’t actually fight Commander Archer very much as they are busy pursuing their own agendas which don’t usually include fighting super heroes. Except for the crazy lady who just wants to inflict pain.

    There is plenty of imagination in this book. Lots of interesting characters and there are plots and subplots aplenty. The writing is quite smart. A sense of humor runs throughout that adds a lot to the story. Clearly those involved love Kirby’s work but don’t just want to ape him. They want to express their own ideas on the “Cosmic”. That’s what I missed the first time when I only read issue twelve.

    Scioli is really doing his best to draw in the 1970’s Kirby Cosmic school and sometimes it gets distracting. Don’t get me wrong, I do think the art looks nice and works most of the time, but when he swings and misses it’s painful. Especially in the earlier issue he uses some Kirby shapes and shading in such inappropriate ways that it comes off as a third rate imitation that’s startling. He misses the point of why Kirby used those shapes like he did. Over all I think the art works nicely and only mention this because a few panels hit me hard.

    I am definitely glad I gave “Godland” another try because I liked it much better having read the whole story rather than just the twelfth part. It is a well done book that not only mines a tradition that has been neglected lately but adds some new stuff to that tradition. Check it out.