Every now and then, a brand new series comes along that catches your eye without even reading a page. Maybe it’s the title of the book you can’t shake or the cover is just so gorgeous you can’t help but feel compelled to pick the book up and see what greets you on the inside. There could be a preview kicking around on the latest comic book website or even your friend won’t shut up about this series you have to read. In the last few months, I’ve been followed around by a book I just can’t shake and it hasn’t even hit comic shop shelves yet. That book is God Country.
Slated for release on January 11th, I was fortunate enough to be sent the first three issues to read. The cover image looked gorgeous, with an art style that was right up my alley but I resisted. They sat aside for weeks before one night I decided to give the book a shot…and then I devoured all three issues with a haste I haven’t felt in some time. God Country, in the most basic of ways, is all about family. It’s about a young man in Texas who is caught between his past and current family, divided between a tired wife, a young daughter, and an insufferable old man with Alzheimer who just so happens to be his father. When a storm comes tearing through the town, their lives are changed in a way they could never have guessed. Beyond that, anything else I say really delves into the realm of spoilers and this story is better experienced than read about.
What caught my attention with the series through these first three issues is the areas from which I could see it has drawn influence. There’s a little bit of some of my favourite comics all sprinkled in. It’s Southern Bastards meets Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman. It’s the dirty south meets mystical gods in the best way possible. The series is grounded, humble, and honest in the way I find a lot of series by Image Comics are, but it still strikes that cord of superhero escapism at the exact same time. God Country is personal, intimate, bold, and beautiful. From the rich, emotional story that it tells with flares of wonderment, down to the gritty yet clean art style, God Country just seems to get it right in a way you wouldn’t expect.
The creative team beyond what may be 2017’s first exciting new launch, Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, was a pairing I was unfamiliar with. After a bit of research, I discovered they’re the team behind the recent series The Paybacks. If these two creators weren’t on your radars before, they will be after you read God Country. After reading the first three issues, my mind races with all the possible directions they could take this story and all I know is that I’m all in for what should be one hellava ride.
God Country #1 releases on January 11th. Be sure to head into your local Big B Comics ahead of time and set up a subscription for the book. I can’t recommend this book highly enough to people looking for a great new Image series to get into. If you’re tastes range from Southern Bastards to Seven To Eternity or even Lazarus (or any REALLY good Image comic released in the last 5-6 years) you should definitely be checking out this book. I mean, how often do I actually write articles anymore? It has to be a pretty decent book if I’m taking 15 minutes out of the day to go on the internet and tell you about it.