Writer: Joe Casey
Artists: Tom Scioli (p), Richard Starkings (i)
Publisher: Image Comics
Plot: Commander Adam Archer’s sister, the intrepid but perhaps impulsive Neela, has departed on a search and rescue mission of Crashman, America’s most beloved super hero who has been captured and is being tortured by the nefarious Discordia. Adam Archer follows Neela to Discordia’s castle in the middle of the Artic but is met by the torture queen’s killer robots. Soon Archer finds himself snared by Discordia’s virtual prison and his cosmic powers are drained by the villain.
Comments: I find it supremely ironic as readers have astutely pointed out in the letters column of this comic book, that the company disgruntled former Marvel artists like Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane and Marc Silvestri built (a.k.a. Image comics) is producing the best retro-Marvel style cosmic book on the stands. It would be false to assume that Marvel is no longer capable of delivering quality space epics such as Godland. For example, one only needs to look back on Jim Starlin’s first six issues of Thanos last year as evidence of a great cosmic themed series. Unfortunately, the formula has mostly been abandoned in favor of the grim and gritty approach which first marked Image’s early books in the 90s. Talk about coming full circle! However, Godland is a fun space romp on its own terms, vastly superior to DC’s Adam Strange with ingenious characters and impressive artwork. Sure, much has been made already of Scioli being heavily influenced by Jack Kirby. I’d go as far as saying he’s a Kirby clone. On the artistic side, the book definitely has the feel of the king’s work on The Eternals and some of his best stuff from early Fantastic Four, so much so that you almost expect an army to spring forth from hovering boom tubes or for Adam Archer to team up with Orion. Yet, comic book printing and coloring has vastly improved since the days of New Gods, and this is evident in every beautifully rendered and colored page on this book. I have nothing but praise for Scioli, Starkings and all involved in the production of this excellent comic. Godland also has something the discerning fanboy can attribute to it which is unique, and that is the sense of fun which has been absent from a lot of the crap on the stands today. Vibrant and colorful spreads, the aforementioned letters page at the end of every issue, even an alien canine who is reminiscent of Modok and a dude with his head floating in a freaking jar! Brilliant stuff.
Final Word: Casey’s pacing and plotting of the comic has been superb, he teases the reader with glimpses of Adam Archer’s background and the motivation behind the supporting cast’s actions, but doesn’t distract from the flow of the narrative to do so. Yet, there is no sense of clear demarcation, the comic can shoot into many different directions and espouse many varying themes, something which would be dangerous in the hands of less skilled people. The action sequences between the glowing burst of energy that is Archer and the robots was first rate. The dialogue is funny and contemporary without coming off as contrived and its tongue in cheek treatment of clichés is an amusing treat. You almost don’t mind shelling out the $3 price of admission because at least you know you’re in for a fun read which will leave you wanting to pick up the following month’s issue. When was the last time a book by Marvel had the same consistent effect?
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