The second issue of ‘God Country’, from creators Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, continues to deepen its characters, and the world they inhabit.
By Abdulkareem Baba Aminu
But for divine providence, I almost didn’t pick up God Country #1. The reason was, as I flipped through, the story came across as too un-detailed. It read very well, mind you, but felt rather too decompressed. But I dug Geoff Shaw’s art, so I bought it anyways, and read through in two or three minutes. A month later, issue 2 hits, and I eagerly continued with the story of the family Quinlan.
The revelation that Roy’s dad, Emmett, is not a crazy old man after all should be a relief to Janey, his daughter-in-law. But only it isn’t, as it turns out he’s the wielder of a powerful, ancient weapon. For long addled by Alzheimer’s (and missing out on ‘Grandpa of The Year’ awards), Emmett is instantly smitten by Deena, his adorable little granddaughter, who also loves, instantly, this new version of her grandfather.
Emmet’s (or is it?) weapon is revealed to be the ‘god of swords’, and turns out to be sentient to boot. After a deity of war attacks Emmett for his celestial weapon, Valofax even counsels both warring parties to ‘talk it out’. They do, and the bits and pieces of character work allow writer Donny Cates’ work to truly shine. A giant sword has never been more badass, believe me. But I digress.
Cates’ dialogue is squeaky clean, but with a tendency to surprise. And no, I don’t meant the fun F-bombs dropped here-and-there. I mean, for instance, after a long walk — figuratively and literally — Emmett telling the god of war point-blank about the sword, “I can’t give it up”. Or when same war god, who’s actually after Valofax for his own dad, asks: “Have you a message for my father?” And Emmet basically tells him to come and get it.
Back to character work: I soon realized that the pace of issue #1 was deliberate, getting the reader ready for the layered epic that is issue #2. The Quinlan clan, by the last page, are pretty well-established, as is the first antagonist, whose exit also gets us ready for the next Big Bad.
At this point, there isn’t even a shadow of doubt that the creative team is solid. Take the top-notch writing by Cates, gorgeously kinetic art by Shaw, beautiful colors by Jason Wordie, stunning lettering and publication design by John J. Hill, and then toss in a striking variant cover by the always-amazing Gerardo Zaffino, and the result is a comic-book that’s simply divine, no pun intended.
At the very end of God Country #2, the size and apparent power of the war god’s father hints at the kind of danger to come. It also hints at the meaning of the book’s title, implying that god after god, quest after quest, there will be quite a celestial rogue’s gallery coming for Valofax. But the problems will worsen when all that cosmic madness begins to affect — or threaten — Emmet’s son and his own family. This, of course, has me excited and I’ll surely come back again and again. Not to grab Valofax for myself, silly, but to watch all of them bad guys try.
God Country #2 is published by Image Comics, and is in stores now