God Country by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw

One of the best things for me about living in 2017 is that we have a publisher like Image Comics to give us illustrated modern fables such as God Country. An emotive and beautifully written story that makes the most of the illustrative medium, this stand alone tale leaves a warm glow well after it is finished.

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Synopsis: In a remote part of Eastern Texas, Roy is caught between two worlds: caring for his increasingly demented father suffering from Alzheimers while balancing the needs of his wife and daughter. It’s a battle that is failing on both fronts – until a storm brings a sentient sword that restores his father’s memories. Emmet is unwilling to give the sword up – and all his memories with it But the god who manufactured the sword wants it back – and will destroy worlds to obtain it.

At its heart, God Country is about family – Roy and Emmet, Roy and his wife/daughter, and the God who is willing to sacrifice both his sons and even his realm for the sword. The sword is a Maguffin in this respect, by the end it becomes very obvious that the story is about knowing when to hold on and when to let go.

The illustration work is excellent and tells the story well. Grandpa Emmet is an everyman, massive beer belly and large ego. His son Roy not a fighter, lean and willowy. Roy’s wife frazzled and trapped in a situation she doesn’t understand. The gods themselves are fairly simple and lacking nuances on purpose – majesty without an emotional heart, imposing but hollow.

The story is presented as a fable – a retelling of the legend of a mysterious sword that chooses a wielder in a way that feels random but begins to make sense by the end of the tale. Stubbornness and its consequences run linearly through the entire book though the true core is about making and losing memories: is it worse to lose everything that has made you what you are or to discard them all in a desperate attempt to hold on to what you have now?

In all, I greatly enjoyed God’s Country. A superb, nicely illustrated and intelligently written fable for the modern day man. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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This entry was posted in ARC, Book Reviews, graphic novel, urban fantasy. Bookmark the permalink.

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