By Nolan P. Smith
(Victor Valley)– I didn’t know much about Image Comic’s God Country before I pre-ordered: the name and the cover art was enough for me to try at least the first issue. With a title like God Country and a dude with a massive sword walking towards a storm? Sounded like it was worth a read for sure. What I didn’t expect was the emotional depth here, and the enormous set up this issue serves.
Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, who both previously worked on The Paybacks, are joined by colorist Jason Wordie for gripping tale. Told by an unknown narrator, the story is set in Texas, as Roy, his wife and daughter, rush to Roy’s fathers place. You see, his dad, Emmet Quinlan, has been succumbing to dementia, leaving him a very different, and irate, person. With his latest wanderings, which led to an altercation with the police, Roy is faced with the incredibly hard decision of caring for his father himself or putting his dad in a care facility. The emotional exchange between Roy and his family hits home, but another storm is brewing.
When a massive storm touches down at Emmet’s home, it turns the home into rubble, and leaves something behind: something in the form of a demon like monster. As Roy and his daughter stand right in the path of this demon, it happens. I won’t say what “it” is, but it is the defining moment of this issue, and is the exclamation point on this fantastic book, which sets up something far bigger than Texas. But wait, if this is the exclamation point, then the last page is the extra few “!!!” to enforce that this book is, right now, the best debut of 2017.
Cates, Shaw and Wordie create a book with heart, with soul, and with some modern mythology mixed in for good measure. I literally can’t wait to get the second issue to see what happens to Emmet, Roy and the human race as a whole. God Country isn’t going to be for everyone, especially with the strong language, but choice words aside, Image Comics has a massive hit on their hands with this debut.
Nolan Smith is a longtime reporter with High Desert Daily, covering everything from the opening of a new comic book shop to a series on the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. A long time resident of the Victor Valley, Smith has worked in the educational sector in the High Desert for the past decade. He is also the Editor and Co-Founder of Pastrami Nation- a pop culture news site which features news, reviews and podcasts on various aspects of pop culture, including comic books, video games, films, anime, manga, cosplay and more. You can visit Pastrami Nation at www.pastramination.com.