Simon Spurrier (Writer), Jeff Stokely (Artist), André May (Colorist)
The Story: As the Gorilla introduces himself, Blue sees just how rough life on this planet is for those caught in the middle of the conflict.
The Review: Do you like weird comics? Do you enjoy a comic that seems to go ahead with plenty of strange concepts, one that almost challenge your suspension of disbelief? Do you have a tendency to be pleased when you read a comic that mix many genres together, like war, western and social commentary?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then congratulation, for Six-Gun Gorilla is pretty much everything mentioned earlier and more. It is a story that is ambitious, weird and that is unafraid to be original, yet is not without its share of flaws as well.
One of the biggest strength of this issue would be the creativity and the overall strangeness of the premise and its character. As we have close to no idea who is the gorilla, where the series is going or what this strange world is, Simon Spurrier is able to bring something that is always nice: an element of surprise. With each answer to our question or exploration of an element on the war and the planet, we can get stuff that is worth investing our interest in. It’s not every comic that dares to bring out so many unexplored elements like that. For the sheer guts of that, the comic is enjoyable.
Of course, there is also the plot to consider. In many ways, it is both a weakness and a strength, as Spurrier has perhaps a little bit much to explain, introduce and play with. With so any elements in the book, it feels like that some of them have more time and have perhaps more work put into them. The exploration of Blue on the Planet and his encounter with the titular gorilla is very interesting, yet there are too many other plot threads that don’t have enough space to be anything more than tease for further development. It is good to see the seed of further things happening, yet there are perhaps a bit too many of them here.
What Spurrier juggles better with is the cast, as he properly explain and play with the character the series is named after, as he also introduce a new character that gives us a new insight on the conflict. This new character, by the name of Dora, show us a little bit more about the necessities of war, how life is on the planet, and make us discover they just how normal people survive in such a hard environment. She is a pretty interesting character that brings some energy into the comic, acting in a contrast to the relatively unsure Blue. However, if there’s a star in this comic, a character that is appealing in many ways and that acts as an even better contrast and foil to Blue, it would be the gorilla himself. He’s the prepared, self-conscious, cool as cucumber and just makes close to everything more interesting with his presence. Considering he’s the character the series is named after, it’s fun to see that he does have a great presence and that he is used in a way that makes him not just a funny animal but rather a genuinely interesting presence.
However, as nice as the weirdness of the setting and the characters are, it’s Jeff Stokely that brings this vision to life in a big way. While he does have a rather nice and energetic approach to action, he also have a tendency of drawing less details in the zoomed-out panels, those that have a perspective from afar. It does give a good sense of depth to the panels, yet a lot of the time it makes for a loss over the character emotions and this rich new world we’re discovering. It’s a shame, because he does have his way with the characters, making them rather expressive throughout their action in a very agreeable manner. The gorilla himself is just plain fun, however, as Stokely makes the image of a poncho-wearing, gun-toting animal come to life in the most absurd, yet also absolutely awesome of ways.
A lot of the mood, though, would be lost if not for André May and his work. The abundance of war and rich colors on the planet Blue is on is delightful, giving us a very different feeling from the absolutely cold and rather dreadful tone given to the council and general civilization scenes in the issue. It’s all a matter of giving some focus to the right elements, which he does quite well in the action, the setting and pages in general.
The Conclusion: While the weirdness and the quick pace of the issue may be bothersome for some readers, there is no doubt that the level of craft and the sheer fun of some of its concepts makes Six-Gun Gorilla an interesting book that is worth our time.
Hugo Robberts Larivière