By: Simon Spurrier (Writer), Jeff Stokely (Artist), André May (Colorist)
The Story: There’s a huge war going on as suicidal persons decide to film it for the rich people out there. Oh, there’s also a gorilla with a six-shooter.
The Review: I had no idea what kind of comic I’d be reading when I bought this. It starred a gorilla with a six-shooter and a poncho, combining some vague hints about a genre I love, Westerns, with an animal I like. The fact that it’s written by Simon Spurrier, who I discovered thanks to X-Men Legacy, a weird little title that I like very much, really helped in my decision to buy it. Deciding to go on ahead and pick it up, I thought I’d have a silly and fun little read.
What I got instead was some kind of futuristic and fantastical world where we see a suicidal main character gets thrown on the front line of a big war in order to film it for rich people to see. It was a sci-fi, war, western and social comic with a talking gorilla thrown in just for safe measure. It was a weird, almost philosophical experience that was silly, yet also spoke about some of the human nature and a bit about depression along the way. I loved it.
Sure, not everything is perfect in this comic, as we are introduced to Blue-3425, a man who is on his way to the front line as he has been installed a psychic tumor that enables him to film everything he see so that people in their home can become invested in the conflict, with the war becoming some kind of reality show for them. Through these explanations, we are constantly told new information to explain things as they are, to introduce concepts and key elements to the readers. While this may lead to a somewhat exposition heavy issue, it is nonetheless fascinating as we are presented with a fantastic new world as told by various characters.
The non-stop explaining of things would become rather dull if the characters and concepts weren’t interesting, which isn’t the case here. Each character with a speaking appearance has a distinct voice that enables us to see a bit more into their psyche, be it General Lancox or the other Blue talking with our main character in the giant turtle ride (yes, you read that correctly). The concepts themselves, like the aforementioned giant turtles, are all over the place, which makes this quickly a bit jarring, yet in a good way. Spurrier lets us know quite fast that were not dealing with reality as we know it and that we’ll have to deal with it.
This is why the main character of Blue-3425 works quite well as our point-of-view character, as he is presented in a relatively normal way to us readers. Sure, he is trying to get himself killed, but as the issue goes on, we get to know just why and it humanize the character in a way that make us connect a bit with him, not because we are all suicidal, mind you, but because we all felt despair in big ways once in our life. The big war around him is as alien to him as it is to us, which makes his perception and his vision of things ours in a way. It works rather well and I was surprised that in such a crazy world, Spurrier acknowledge it so with his protagonist.
Of course, there is a gorilla with a six-shooter in this story, yet considering the fact that such a character would probably steal the spotlight quite easily, Spurrier uses him sparingly. It is a wise decision as it permits us to analyze and invest ourselves in the world a bit more before the true craziness of a gorilla with guns overwhelms us.
What may be overwhelming at times, too, can be Jeff Stokely and his portrayal of such a strange world. He does honor in most part to the craziness of the concepts and the script, especially with some of the weird technology and the designs of most of the characters. Still, there is a small weakness to this artist as he seems to have some difficulty in drawing background characters. Sure, those type of things are usually here only to cement the fact that there’s a crowd, yet most of the time their lines are blurry and a huge amount of details are lost, which does not work very well when the background characters are supposedly a few meters behind our main character. Other than that, close to everything look fantastic, especially the titular Six-Gun Gorilla.
The colors are also worthy of praise, as the desert land in which the characters and the action are set in is a good mix of beige, brown and a whole plethora of warm colors. It works quite well in contrast to the blue outfits of the main character and the colorization of the other elements that are made to have the very same effect against this background colorization.
The Conclusion: This is a comic that surprised me on many level, be it with the concepts and the many ways it plays around with them or the lovely art by Jeff Stokely. Such a daring comic deserves some love and I urge people to try it out.
Hugo Robberts Larivière