Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trade Waiting - Godland Vol 1, Hello Cosmic!

I've never really read any of Joe Casey's work, but I've heard good things about him, mostly in relation to his work on Wildcats 3.0. His work does look like it would appeal to me though. Crazy, original ideas seem to abound in a lot of his work and that is usually something that would get me to check out a comic. After reading the first issue of Godland on, I decided to give the first trade a try. Hit the jump and see that I thought of the first volume of Godland.

Written by Joe Casey
Art by Tom Scioli
Collects Godland #1-6

Godland is a weird series for me. The first time I read through the trade, I absolutely hated it. Just completely hated it. But, after rereading it a few times, I started to like it a little more and, overall, I do enjoy the collection, even if it does have some really weak aspects to it.

Godland focuses on Adam Archer, an astronaut who crashed on Mars and, upon finding an ancient alien device, is granted cosmic powers. Later, after rescuing an alien named Maxim, he learns that he is part of the process of preparing humanity for its eventual contact with the greater universe.

Casey does some pretty good work with this theme, which is mostly dealing with the evolution of humanity, but it really feels like the secondary plot in this trade. Even though Casey does a good job with it, there are some missteps here and there. Nothing fatal, but more like minor annoyances, although it was originally what made me hate the series the first time I read it. One glaring example was that Archer thought that humanity was evolving to be more "media savvy", which has nothing to do with becoming part of the universe at large.

This is actually my biggest complaint about the series - it tries too hard to be hip and cool, too pop culture-y, as it were. It's nothing that ruins the story, but it is annoying and can really grate at times. The biggest problem with this is the dialogue and, in particular, the dialogue used by the youngest Archer sister, Angie.

Ironically enough, it's also what makes some of characters work, in particular the villains, who are probably the most interesting part of the trades. This is were the cool, hip theme kind of works. The villains are pretty unique and Casey does a good of job of introducing them, but, again, the coolness factor does grate at times, though not quite as much as it does in general with the book.

The story is your average introduction arc. Casey introduces the cast, the premise and a little bit of backstory to help flesh out of the characters, as well as provide some context and motivation. It's basically a world tour type of story where Archer goes around, meets some characters and so on and so forth. Casey does a good job of properly introducing his various ideas, most of which I liked on some level, and provides an interesting read. Casey mixes some action into all of the introductory stuff as well as some character drama so there is some nice variety mixed in.

The story ends with a trial of one of the villains, Discordia, and, again, it mixes the good and bad elements of the media savvy/cool factor stuff and ends up being just okay, which is where a lot of Godland ends up. The good stuff is weighed down by the bad stuff, but the bad stuff is over come by the good stuff, so it all balances out to be average.

The art by Scioli is pretty decent, but it comes off as a bad Kirby knock off at times. That said, he does a lot of it right, such as the character designs, action scenes, panel flow and facial expressions. He also creates the perfect tone to compliment Casey's story, which is very Kirby-ish itself, so it's a good case of the art re-enforcing the story. Scioli's work can be a little rough at times but, overall, it's a pretty solid effort.

Verdict - Check It. Hello Cosmic! is a collection with interesting ideas, a competent story and decent art that tends to falter on it's execution though it remains enjoyable for the most part. If you are looking different then definitely consider giving Godland a look.

Like this review? Purchase Godland Vol 1: Hello, Cosmic! from and help support the Weekly Crisis!

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Ryan K Lindsay said...

I got the Celestial edition and I loved it.
Basil Cronus would have to be one of my favourite characters of all time, the shit that comes out of that skull is hilarious.
I thought it was great but you do have to take it for what it is. It's not trying to be the Ultimates, it's trying to be a throw back, a scratch for that olde schoole cosmic itch that some of us have.

Matt Ampersand said...

Wow, that cover is very trippy.

Eric Rupe said...

Ryan - I enjoyed it after I got used to it's style but I think Casey could have done a little better with it.

I completely agree with you about Cronus though.

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