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Friday, June 27, 2008

Gødland #19-23 -- I caught up with Joe Casey and Tom Scioli's Gødland this evening, having read the first three trade paperbacks a few months ago. It's to Casey and Scioli's credit that I could pick the story up easily (three metacosmic weirdos are destroying Las Vegas while Archer and Crashman are trapped inside the Infinity Tower by General Brigg and the government).

Scioli mentioned in a recent interview with Tom Spurgeon that he's been evolving his style, and that is wildly apparent in this run of issues; the Kirby stylings are all but gone (as even the unnamed letters-page author admits), and I missed them, but I gazed in wide wonder, to quote a phrase, at the wild leaps and bounds his visual style has made. The brutal and bizarre battle of Archer and Maxim the cosmic dog versus the three oddballs -- Ed, Supra and some joke on the word "ego" or another -- is a fantastic blend of Scioli's pop art fundamentals with what looks to me like mid-period Frank Miller Moebius pastiche, right down to what I think is an homage to a scene from Ronin. An homage that shows just how far this title has come in a visual sense.

Casey's writing continues to be a pleasing mix of comic book basics with tossed-off bits evoking Moore/Morrison detours into strange dimensions; an editor really is needed to catch the minor typos here and there, from the misuse of the apostrophe-d version of "its" to small, niggling errors that momentarily took me out of the altogether psychedelic (if not psychoactive) goings-on. But the plot and the dialogue are sterling examples of just how damned good Casey can be at his best, and the most recent issue concludes with a deliciously traditional sci-fi take on the cosmic reset button and the nagging sense that things ain't quite what they used to be.

Don't deny yourself the vast world of comics pleasure that is Gødland; you can probably enjoy any single issue about as much as any other, but taken altogether, to date the series is 23 issues of the most spectacular 21st century (if not 22nd) superhero comics storytelling you can possibly imagine. With a Journey gag that just won't quit in one issue, to boot. "Escape," indeed.



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