God Country, one of the more hyped new series out of Image Comics showcases some new talent for the publisher in the form of writer Donny Cate, artist Geoff Shaw with colourist Jason Wordie and letterer John J. Hill.
Cate has created an immersive first issue with southern allure and captivating writing reminiscent of SOUTHERN BASTARDS but with a much more mythic/supernatural feel.
The book begins with a simple narration – as if being told as a tale that has been passed down for generations, while eluding to the scale of events presented later in the book.
The story has slow start with a dark and intriguing proximity to Shaw’s artwork. Cate pulls you in with a fast-paced, emotionally driven narrative where you almost get lost in the dialogue for the first two thirds of the book, thinking to yourself “Wait a minute, where is the giant tornado and the dude with the huge sword?”.
The last third of God Country #1 is where this book really comes to life, you notice a real change of pace from the more dialogue-driven story to some colourful and dynamic action scenes (And yes the geezer with the sword.. ).
These scenes are incredibly well constructed, Cate could practically write the book on how to structure comics as you are left hanging at the end of every page – even during the slower-paced beginning to the story.
The final pages of the book leave you compelled to find out more – not only about the characters but the brilliant and immersive world that the Shaw and Cate have created.
Colourist Jason Wordie has worked some absolute magic in this book – the subtle but effective watercolours adapt and change to the mood of Cate’s writing and contrast beautifully with Shaw’s dynamic line work.
It is difficult to fault a #1 like God Country, but if I had to pick something I’d say that maybe some of Shaw’s panels can feel a bit confined and claustrophobic. Also, I don’t really feel like song comes through well in comics – although this could just be me.
Overall, God Country #1 is a captivating release from Image comics that seems to live up to the hype, hopefully this issue sets the tone for what we can expect from the rest of the series.