About ten years ago, one of my favorite runs on a comic was Joe Casey’s collaboration with Jose Ladronn on Marvel’s mutant title Cable. Ladronn’s art at the time was an amazing merger of Jack Kirby and Moebius, an amazingly unique and exciting style that was especially exciting in gigantic action scenes. At times it seemed like Ladronn was channeling Kirby, so spectacular and exciting was the artwork.
Now Casey has collaborated with Tom Scioli to present an equally spectacular comic book. I honestly had almost no idea what was going on in this comic, but it didn’t really matter to me because this is true widescreen comics acion at its finest. There are giants, drawn with absurd levels of detail, and a giant flying pyramid above New York that gets destroyed in spectacular fashion. There are bizarre Kirbyesque spaceships and villains with humungous head-dresses. It all feels bizarre and crazy, overwhelming and vast, in the way that only comic books could be.
My one complaint about the comic is that, frankly, in the midst of all the spectacular action, the comic loses the human touch. Readers get little vignettes of the human characters, but they’re simply overwhelmed by the great action scenes. One thing that Kirby was always able to do was bring an element of humanity to his characters. The New Gods comics may have been packed with action, but at the same time there were stories like “The Pact” and characters like Terrible Turpin grounding the story in some semblance of reality. In this comic, the scenes of the human characters don’t quite feel central to the story. They feel somewhat unrelated, which prevents the story from being as grounded as it could have been. It may, however, be that this is an especially exciting issue of Godland. This is my first issue of the series, so this may be an anomaly.
This is a weird review, because I keep referring to Godland by what it compares to and not what it is. I hope that doesn’t seem too awkward, but I think part of Casey and Scioli’s plan with this book is for it to feel familiar and exciting. Godland is like a lost issue of New Gods, done in true widescreen format. It’s exciting and big and kind of overwhelming.