First issues of comics have a tendency to open huge. They go for the bombastic and the insane; they cram as much as they can into their pages. It’s a fine method and it works well for some series. But God Country #1 takes a different road entirely, and it turns out better for it. The story opens slowly, and confidently so. From the pacing to the art to the characters, God Country #1 is a win in every category. First issues don’t get much better than this.
The scene that writer Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw use to open their book is quiet and subtle. It runs for nearly one third of the entire issue and it’s a very real and dark situation. The creative team lets it linger and that makes the scenes that follow even more impactful. God Country #1 is perfectly structured comic. You could write an essay on the layouts (it opens wide and far, with a storm in the distance). Nothing is ever out of place; there’s a careful, measured balance throughout the entire issue.
Now, reading all that, you might assume this a quiet family drama, so let me assure you that things get crazy pretty fast. I’m talking tornados that spit out demons. Or giant 12-foot swords that mow those aforementioned demons down. The final page looks like it was ripped from mind of Jack Kirby. It’s a huge credit to Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw that they make all these things work together so wonderfully.
Shaw’s art is particularly impressive. His characters feel worn down and weary. His storytelling is top notch and his action is brilliant. Jason Wordie’s colors add to this brilliance, using a washed-out palette that perfectly matches the tired, world-weary characters on the page. Of course, once that 12-foot sword shows up, things get brighter, the colors in the sky shift to pinks and blues, and it’s like everything has changed. Because it has.
God Country #1 will be hitting comic shops in January 2017, but you can pre-order it now. Without a doubt, this will be one of next year’s big titles. It’ll be the book that makes everyone say, “Whoa, where did this come from?!” It’s a truly stunning debut and we can’t wait to read more.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Images: Image Comics
Benjamin Bailey writes for the Nerdist and can be found on Twitter talking about Godzilla, comic books, and hardcore music.