Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wherever this god is, be someplace else.

Thos bloody footsteps represent
your wallet's traumatic doom!
For this week I'm rewinding a little over a year to A God Somewhere from John Arcudi and Peter Snejbjerg, which at the time was generating a lot of good press. Being open to trying new things here and there (when collected - and as this was an OGN, that wasn't a problem) I gave it a go, and found myself wondering why. There's a whole swathe of problems with this book, which may be why Amazon currently don't have this 200 page tome of boredom in stock (though why anyone would pay $25 US for a new copy is beyond me).

Exactly 1 minute 14 seconds after discussing
the ass of the woman who jogged past that
wasn't Eric's brother's wife.
The story deals with a hypothetical "average guy gets superpowers" type story, and throws in graphic violence and the odd bit of nudity. Actually, advertised that way, I can see why I bought this (unashamed Garth Ennis fan that I am). Even that set-up has a couple problems. The "average guy" work for UPS UDS with his buddy from high school, hangs out with his married younger brother (who everyone seems to treat as a genius, though that goes absolutely nowhere), and is a God Botherer (he seems to be continually pestering his friend into attending church, if only to pick up chicks). This guy ends up getting powers during a weird (unexplained) explosion (though it seems like a nuke going off, it's never confirmed)  and proceeds to be, well, naive, and a jerk. He stops robberies, makes demands on the mayor to protect his brother (since he can't convince him to move to a nicer neighbourhood), jerks around the PoTUS, and eventually cracks. As in, cracks and kills his brother. And rapes his brother's wife. Because he realises that he's so far beyond normal humans that he can't relate to them, and can do what he wants with them. That, and he had a dream one night about people worshipping him as a god. Right.

Heroic, and weiny.
Now if this still sounds like a good read, let me just say that you're only half way done. If, up until this point, you consider the story is about Eric (He Who Has Superpowers), the second half is all about his friend, Sam. Sam who got saved from getting killed by rednecks by Eric and Hugh (Eric's brother), Sam who has always wanted Hugh's wife. Sam who fits in with no-one, and was getting Eric's groupies. Sam who, if he tried, might just about rise to the greats of earning your hard earned pity. See after Eric is arrested for what he did to his family (he wanted to talk to Sam about his dream, you see, so he gave himself up), and Eric's escape, Sam becomes a journalist (didn't see anything about those skills earlier in the book) that is embedded with the military unit assigned to killing his friend.
To angry and overweight Ultimate Thor.
In the end, yes the military win (go team), Eric goes from underweight Ultimate Thor to overweight Ultimate Thor, Sam gets to fly courtesy of Eric's amazing powers, Hugh and family survive, and Sam goes from refusing to make huge amounts of money off the only story he has worth writing, to selling the story and becoming at least moderately wealthy.

Now some people would claim that the behavioural patterns shown in this book are realistic, human, and that it shows the true nature of people, and what happens when you are given seemingly limitless power without having earned it. I personally think it's a fine example of sloppy, big action movie plotting combined with poor, charmless characterisation. An example people would do well to stay away from. An example I hope I don't see repeated.

Thus far I've beat up on Arcudi's work pretty severely, but then again Snejbjerg's art certainly doesn't do anything to distract you. There are numerous panels where people (for no apparent reason) have maniacal grins on their faces. There are plenty of examples of people that look bored, disinterested, or depressed with conversations for no reason. And about one third of the other facial expressions could be summated as wide-eyed surprise. Sometimes you'll get them all combined. It's disconcerting. At a guess, I'd say that Snejbjerg wanted it too look like David Gianfelice's work on Northlanders. But it doesn't. And it never should have.
To mass-muderin' crazy person.
How can you really believe THAT? 

Overall, I can see why some people liked it. I can see why it would possibly win critical praise. I can also see it being called superficial action schlock. Personally I think the best criticism I can level at this book goes to whoever at Wildstorm decided to green-light such a wretched book as an OGN (according to the editorial credits this could be Scott Peterson or Peter Tomasi).

Given the cost of this book, if I were you I'd save my money. Really I would, because in the long run you may want to buy something worthwhile. Something like this:
If you haven't had enough of
L.A. Noire by now, get on this.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recommendation to avoid. I like trying new reads too, but I'm gonna take your word on this one. Well written as always Westy! Are you reviewing Madrox next? Hope so! Love that character!