Simon Spurrier (Writer), Jeff Stokely (Artist), André May (Colorist)

The Story: Blue becomes an unfortunate listener as people tells them the woe brought by the war. He also tries to escape from such a predicament.

The Review: Some series tries too hard. Being larger-than-life, full of neat concepts, original ideas and characters don’t always result in a comic that is enjoyable or actually smart. Ambition don’t always mean quality, though authors who show signs of it always earn credits for trying.

Of course, not every comic can be qualified as a simple hit or a miss. Every writers have strengths and weaknesses, subjects and themes that they are much more familiar with. Simon Spurrier, it seems, is quite apt when it comes to social commentary and science-fiction. Combining many of these elements into his narrative and his characters, Spurrier manage to create a lot of hits, although he is not perfect.

One of the better aspects of this issue, one that is shown many times, is the way most characters speaks at Blue indirectly, knowing that he is linked directly to a live feed on another planet. It is a smart way to use reality shows and how they seems to make a simulacrum of reality by making each people talk to Blue without actually wishing to converse or tell them their piece personally. In a way, Blue represents a normality, the citizen not exactly informed or touched by a certain situation, yet isn’t completely unaware of its existence. No one seems interested in Blue and the character is actually aware of this fact, which makes his monologue about who he is rather fascinating in terms of analysis. The way that he is set in such a situation, yet no one, except perhaps his ex, seems to care about him makes for a rather easily identifiable protagonist.

This kind of social angle is done quite well, yet as a result, the science-fiction one suffers a bit. There are some good ideas thrown in the mix, like how fiction might have trouble subsisting in the future, how medias are handled and the fact that Spurrier shows some new machines and concepts related to the planet the story is situated. What’s kind of sad, while not destructively so, is the fact that the eponymous gorilla, the character the comic is titled about, is barely in this comic. While it does not destroy the effectiveness of several aspects found here, it seems a bit misleading to name a series about a character that looks cool, sound silly, yet has close to no appearances and has, so far, close to no impact on what is going on as well.

While the science-fiction of the series isn’t best represented, the story itself is also taking its sweet time as well, as we move on from points to points without necessarily knowing where Spurrier wishes to take the readers. There are many quality scenes, with one or two points moving forward and a point where the book seems to be heading, yet a lot of what happens don’t connect in ways that are organic. Many threads converge, yet after three issues it seems as if the actual point isn’t really in the readers sight yet. This could be a good thing or an hindrance, but this issue does not provide much in term of plot progression, giving us some hints here and there instead.

If there’s a hint that’s easy to take and enjoy, though, it’s Jeff Stokely’s work. While his panelling isn’t anything to talk about, he has a rather rough, yet very expressive style that allow the dialogue and the characters to breathe life into this unique blend of sci-fi, western and office space environment. He is not the most precise of artists, especially when it comes to details in the background or with perspective, yet his designs are very great to look at, combining various periods and styles into his characters and architecture that is enjoyable. The characters are also quite expressive, although in a more cartoonish way than photorealistic or overly precise. Stokely has style and that counts for a lot.

On the coloring part of things, André May does well, using a good deal of colors primarily, yet never too much that the use of other colors to spice things up is watered down. He is able to participate fully with the script as he convey many emotions or enhance them up with the use of certain colors in the background. He is able to cooperate and that counts too.

The Conclusion: The downplay of the sci-fi elements and the overall confusion when it comes to the direction of the series does nothing to reduce the effective social elements, the characterization of Blue and the good work from Stokely and May, making this issue a good effort that could have been perhaps a little bit better. Still, recommended.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière