This week, the third issue of the fascinating and beautifully illustrated fantasy series Godshaper arrived from Boom! Studios, written by Simon Spurrier (The Spire, Cry Havoc) and illustrated by stellar newcomer Jonas Goonface.
In this series, a society exists where technology seems to have ceased working in the late 1950’s, leaving the world in a kind of Rockabilly loop where tech roles and all finances are powered by mysterious personal gods. Then there are the few souls who are born into this world and fail to have a “personal god”. Without the ability to make or spend money, and without the powers and aids of a personal god, they are the rootless drifters who possess a unique gift: they can modify, shape, and change gods for their own survival in a form of barter.
One such “Godshaper” is Ennay, who with a companion humanless little god called Bud, travels the world looking for work. The reassuring and socially shunned rock music Cantik keeps Ennay in decent spirits through a hard life, that and the many loves he finds along the way. Now, in issue 3, Ennay has been saddled with a female child godshaper to teach as an apprentice, and various friends have gotten him into trouble with local syndicates.
Could life get any more complicated? One of the big areas of interest in this issue of the comic is also the hints at revelations concerning just how technology “stopped” for the world and where these bizarre personal gods, amorphous and changing beings, came from. And Bud might somehow be at the center of that.
Another are of interest is realizing that the form of religion and belief system that persists in this landscape is quite a haunting one, where those who have little simply have to content themselves with obscurity rather than seeking to raise themselves up in any way. This fits the tone of Ennay’s life where he can do little but show a winning attitude and try to get by despite prejudice and mistreatment.
Jonas Goonface’s artwork is off the hook in this issue, too, taking us deeper into the lives and societies of the godshapers in new ways–the texture of clothing, landscape, and even architecture draw you fully into this reality, and his use of facial expressions to convey emotion and even superficiality is very persuasive.
The big questions are coming back into the spotlight in issue #3 of Godshaper, and that’s a refreshing undercurrent that’s bubbling away even while Ennay’s personal problems are coming to a crisis point. Why are these gods necessary? Where did they come from? What exactly can godshapers do? Is there any hope for change in a world like the one in this comic? What does Bud have to do with this?
A lot seems to hinge on the humanless god Bud, who folks are beginning to realize might be “important” for strange reasons in unraveling many mysteries. But it also consequently hinges on Ennay. Can he get out of the scrapes that seem to perpetually dog him to even consider what mysteries might need unraveling?
Check out Godshaper if you haven’t yet–it’s composed of storytelling so carefully woven that you feel like you’re getting double the amount of story and detail you often find in other comics, and the artwork will knock your socks off.
For those who are reading Godshaper already, I predict #4 will be a big turning point in our level of knowledge about how this strange world of the comic works and how that’s going to effect Bud and Ennay.