God Country #1 Review
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Geoff Shaw
Colour by Jason Wordie
Letters & Design by John J. Hill
Reviewed by Lorna Maltman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My Grandma got dementia when I was young, so memories and tales of her life, such as surviving the bombing of London and being evacuated as a child, I hear not from her but from my mum.. What little memories I have, are of her laughing and showing kindness to others. So, when I saw God Country, a book about a man with dementia, injected with fantasy elements, I had to read it and I am so glad I did.
Ron has moved back to Texas with his family to look after his father Emmett, who is suffering from dementia. This set up is poignantly written by Cates, who shows how dementia affects not just the patient but the people surrounding them. As everything that made them who they are slowly slips away, Shaw’s art shows the sadness, mixed with weariness, that this inevitability often provokes in people. For me, it is the little details, such as the fact that Emmett is walking a lot and gets lost, which is exactly what happened to my Grandma. This is what showed me that Cates understands dementia and was not just treating it as a disease that makes you forget.
Cates setup at the start is what makes the ending so emotional and powerful and his great writing makes this book brilliant to read. There are fantasy elements mixed into this story, such as a magical sword and a storm that would put Dorothy’s tornado to shame: these are all to serve the human emotional beats and are weaved into the story instead of feeling tacked on.
Shaw’s art and Wordie’s colours compliment Cates writing and story brilliantly, with the colours transitioning from dark and bleak at the beginning to literally having rainbow clouds towards the end to fit the shifting moods of the characters.
There is a cliff-hanger ending and I am intrigued by where that leads, but it is Cates and his understanding of how to write respectfully and impactfully about a subject that is affecting 5.4 million Americans and 850,000 in the UK. This sensitivity and the relationships that are built, are going to keep me coming back to what promises to be a great series.
BUY. The sci-fi fantasy parts are stellar, but, what Cates and Shaw knock out of the park, is their characterisation and this needs to be read. They capture the turmoil beautifully, but the story has levity as well; I cannot wait to see what Cates and Shaw have in store for this series and this issue is definitely worth picking up.