Review - God Country #1 (@Imagecomics)

"The wrath of God lies sleeping."

There are parts of the world where things move a little more slowly. When people familiar with a faster-pace visit these parts of the world there's some adjusting that must be undertaken un order to understand the difference in the ways of life. In God Country #1 from Image Comics, nothing can prepare Roy and his family for the life that Roy's father Emmet leads. The issue is written by Donny Cates, illustrated by Geoff Shaw, colored by Jason Wordie and lettered by John J. Hill.

Emmet Quinlan, an old widower rattled by dementia, isn't just a problem for his children—his violent outbursts are more than the local cops can handle. When a tornado levels his home—as well as the surrounding West Texas town—a restored Quinlan rises from the wreckage. The enchanted sword at the eye of the storm gives him more than a sound mind and body, however. He's now the only man who can face the otherworldly creatures the sword has drawn down to the Lone Star State...

Cates knows a thing or two about writing characters struggling with demons, but rarely does he get the chance to write characters struggling with gods. Emmet Quinlan is such a character and Cates infuses him with enough vitriol that the reader can be forgiven for refusing to care about him until the big reveal at the end. And Cates works in plenty of interaction between Emmmet and his son and Emmet and his son't family, providing a ton of emotional context to prime the reader for the swerve. There's a broader, intergalactic aspect to the book as well that Cates is looking towards to keep things interesting, promising that the story is more than just a man coming to grips with his current state and how it affects those around him. There's something of a sweet sentimentality amongst the characters that Cates leans on heavily as a calm before the storm.

Shaw's artwork is coarse and an appropriate fit for the dramatic character shift for Emmet. The evil that Emmet and his family encounters is rendered as pure vileness, as Shaw renders him in a way where the reader can see the evil seeping out of him. Other characters wear haggard expressions well, emphasizing the mundane nature of life that old age brings along with it. It's these sort of expressions of emotion that Shaw advances to the forefront as a means of building up enough emotion in the reader that it can be altered pretty quickly. Wordie does a great job with the colors as well, blending together light and dark colors in a way that seems to reinforce optimism and pessimism.

God Country #1 is a clever title that works on multiple levels. Emmet isn't the man his son (or anyone else for that matter) thought he was and his role in the coming battle is nothing short of massive. Cates' script is a very well-heeled series of stark dialogue exchanges and raw emotion. Shaw's illustrations offer a grittiness that matches the story as a whole. God Country #1 is a very satisfying first issue that promises to keep ramping things up as it progresses.

God Country #1 is available now.