Simon Spurrier (Writer), Jeff Stokely (Artist), André May (Colorist)
The Story: Blue gets into a huge mind-trip as lessons are learned, with people watching him live no less!
The Review: Morals and philosophy are hard things to properly insert in a story. While introspection and life-lessons aren’t necessary per se in a story, it can be pretty entertaining when done well. However, it can be done in a manner that is too preachy, resulting in a story that forces its ideas down the readers throat, or it can be too vague, leaving an ambiguity that merely diminish the work in general. Many could agree that any piece of fiction can pull this off, but it’s always a challenge to do so effectively without boring or insulting the readers intelligence in the process.
It’s a good thing then that not only does Simon Spurrier pulls it off in this issue, but he also does it by using some of the inherent strengths of the comic medium in the process of telling his story. This issue not only provides some answers to the general weirdness of the situation and to Blue’s predicament, but it does so in a way that does not cheaply betray the very spirit that drove this series forward to begin with.
This issue, in order to tell some of its morals, focus a lot more on Blue, as we get to learn a bit more in the process of his struggle with the world he’s stuck in. Despite the fact that the issue jumps around a bit with the media, how society sees the struggle of a single blue-cameraman and Blue’s ex-wife, this part of the tale is centered around him, which makes for a better read. As he lives the moral through some kind of crazy introspection forced upon him by the planet, the readers gets to experience this as well as the viewers on Earth, which makes for an apt comparison that revolves around the very lesson Spurrier gives.
And what a lesson it is, as the writer uses a mix of symbolism and clear-cut explanations to bring it full circle as it gives whole new meanings to things that happened previously as well as give new focus to the story in general. Blue, like all the readers, was caught in everything at once as he tried to follow the war and see what everything meant. He wanted explanations and like us, he wanted to be a hero and to be important. With every point being thrown at the readers face, Spurrier spin his tale with a clever twist as just like the viewers and Blue, we were expecting big action, a certain conclusion to everything. The war, the medallion, the planet itself, all those elements were there to distract not only us by Blue as well to what was actually important. No man can escape his own story, even Blue as he catch this lesson, finally getting back to what was important to him.
With this beautiful lesson being weaved into the narrative and the development of the character, Spurrier makes for an intricate story without hurting the general weirdness. We may not know what the people who gave him the medallion wanted, we may not know just what the Gorilla is just yet, but that’s not the focus of the story at all. With this new focus, the story gets much tighter as a result, making this read a pretty satisfying one in the process.
What also makes this great is the art of Jeff Stokely, who manages to give his very best effort to date in this beautiful issue. His panelling, the expressions, the design of the planet as well as the characters are especially striking in this issue. Getting especially more experimental in the layouts of his panel, Stokely reinforce many of the greater aspects of the mind-trip Blue is experiencing, making this moment even more memorable in the process. While his general lack of details in the background elements was some kind of weakness in previous issues, he manages to make it a strength here as he is able to bring the more important elements to the forefront, playing with the lesson introduced in the script as a result. It’s some really strong work from Jeff Stokely, to say the least.
André May is also on figurative fire here as the mind-trip gets even more intense through his colorization, with a strong focalization on the important elements through his shadows and his lighting. In this very scene, the macabre and disturbing is clearly delimited with the dark set against the colorful for the action and the ongoing lesson, which gets focused on more and more as the intense red colorization makes the readers concentrate on certain aspects above others. The mind-trip is also a sharp contrast to the desert aesthetic of warm colors amongst duller ones, which ease the transition from one setting to the other. Thanks to his colorization, André May deserves some accolades as well.
The Conclusion: With a very aptly told and placed lesson, Spurrier is able to bring out a lot of complexity in his story and his characters, which results in a very satisfying read. Combine this with the very strong art of Stokely along the colorization of May and this gives us the best issue of Six-Gun Gorilla yet.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière