Godland #35A comic review article by: Michael Deeley
I'm not sure what's going on, but I know it's awesome.
Adam Archer and Maxim have returned to Earth to find the sun replaced with the deadly blue orb of R@d-Ur Rezz's worldship. R@d-Ur, the rebellious entropist, has begun transforming into a new universe that threatens to replace our own. Meanwhile, Friedrich Nickelhead has realized he is a character in a comic book. This new insight into his fictional nature, (and the laws that govern comic book stories), has given him new powers; powers he turns against the Almighty Decimators attacking the Earth. And the severed head of Basil Cronus comments on these events as he tumbles through space looking forward to the next high.
No amount of explanation could possibly help. In fact, Godland is one of those rare comic books that can't be explained -- only experienced. You either get it or you don't. It's a series where spiritual enlightenment bestows superpowers. Characters evolve instantly just by thinking about it. It's really the ultimate expression of comic book-based philosophy. The grand forces of the universe can be understood and harnessed if one is willing to open oneself to new ideas. Characters are the physical expression of their points of view. A change in perception changes reality.
I think this is Casey's purpose with Godland. It's an extension and a commentary on cosmic comic books like Kirby's New Gods, Adam Warlock, Silver Surfer, etc. The characters in those stories were often representatives or metaphors for different philosophies and points of view. Casey takes that relationship to the next level. The characters are the philosophy. Archer is the hero because he is in touch with the true nature of the universe. R@d-Ur Rezz is so committed to the forces of entropy, he transforms into a negative universe. Upon learning he's in a comic book, Nickelhead gains new powers allowing him to move the story forward. He distracts the Decimators with dancing until Archer's arrival. Yes, dancing. And a reference to the Spider-Man Clone Saga. Godland is a meta-comic that also comments on itself.
I'm sad to say Tom Scioli's art is the weaker half of the series. It's gone from being a great copy of Kirby's style to a sloppy copycat style. There's a soft feel to the work, like people aren't fully formed or defined. An edge is missing from the inking. Human proportion changes from panel to panel. The big fight scenes and cosmic vistas still look great, but I credit that to the coloring of Bill Crabtree. Scioli's done better work in the past. His current web series, American Barbarian, has better definition and stronger sense of weight. I worry that he's rushing on this series to meet deadlines. Then again, there's been a 10-month gap between issues, so what's the rush?
There are still two more extra-sized epics to go in this series. Hopefully we'll see them both in the next six months. I'd still recommend Godland as one of the weirdest, most imaginative, thought-provoking series of the last decade. Get the first volume and ride the space-hero high.
Michael Deeley is proudly serving in the US Air Force while inoculating his fellow airmen with his liberal views. He’s currently struggling to balance a life that includes family, career advancement, video games, and Mystery Science Theater 3000, in addition to comic books.