Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review - Groo: Fray of the Gods #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


"There is no sign of Groo!"

A warrior's quest is one full of valor, danger and reputation. Many villages appreciate a warrior's arrival if they're something of a people's champion and fear them when they come to pillage. It's not often that you get a warrior that's a mix of both like Groo in Groo: Fray of the Gods #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier, illustrated by Aragonés, colored by Tom Luth and lettered by Stan Sakai.

The gods did not bless Groo with brains, only with the ability to battle. Now, they themselves are in conflict over the spirit and future of mankind and it is Groo who becomes the pawn (unwitting, of course) in their war. If the future of humanity depends on the wanderer—we're all in a lot of trouble.

Groo is one of those characters who relies on the bumbling nature of his personality to carry a tale and both Aragonés and Evanier lean upon that to make
Groo: Fray of the Gods #1 entertaining. This approach gives the book a sense of looming comedic dread as the characters all react to Groo as he makes his way across the countryside. Aragonés and Evanier have a larger idea in mind though and it's clear as the book progresses that for as much as Groo is perceived as an oafish terror he does have abilities that make him useful. The dialogue is very amusing as well, providing plenty of back and forth amongst the characters that facilitates the perception of Groo. There's also some larger, more philosophical points made as Groo squares off against a ruler who fancies himself a god.

There's a certain beauty in the attention to detail by Aragonés in rendering the countryside and characters. Each panel is chock full of villagers and villages, allowing Aragonés to demonstrate to the reader that Groo's world is full of people all looking to avoid him at all costs. It's clear that Aragonés really put a lot of work into the artwork to make the world Groo traverses feel massive and alive. Groo is such an entertaining character largely because Aragonés' artwork is cartoonish in a way that adds levity to the book. Luth's colors add to this effect as he relies on a variety of brighter colors that work together effectively.

Groo: Fray of the Gods #1 is extraordinarily lighthearted and embraces its foolishness well. Groo is a hero and a villain, but there's not really any evil in him whatsoever. Aragonés and Evanier pen an evenly paced script that offers plenty of laughs. Aragonés' artwork is meticulous and is gorgeous in its own airy way. Groo: Fray of the Gods #1 is a lot of fun to read and doesn't require much on the part of the reader--other than the willingness to be amused.

Groo: Fray of the Gods #1 is in stores July 20.

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