Staff: Garry Mac, Jim Devlin, Colin Bell, Kev Harper, Iain Laurie
Hunter S. Thompson would be proud of this bizarre comics that staggers under the weight of its own premise.
This comic starts off with a man looking through a vagina-like portal at the universe from outside of time and space. Yeah. It’s going to be one of those comics. WIthout further ado, let’s plunge into Gonzo!
The art is professional level. There are a rare few instances I’d say it could be improved a bit, but ultimately they are not too bad. There are no major missteps and they use a very “scifi” color pallet that meshes well with the clean aesthetic it strives towards. I’ve got a very Fantastic Four vibe from this comic and that’s not a bad thing. I got a bit lost in the beginning of the comic, constant lighting shifts and changes in character proportions made me think there were two crews in two areas or something. I had to re-read it to understand what was going on. Later in a series, this might be a forgivable slip up- but in issue one? (Example: See bottom of page 11 vs bottom of page 9). However, once we get into space (and beyond) there are some truly bizarre creations and fully take advantage of the setting.
Plotwise we have a lot going on. A lot of names, characters, and concepts are thrown at us all at once. Some comics handle this really well, but Gonzo had a rough lift off. By about page 13, I started getting a bit more comfortable and I was able to use some context clues to decipher what was going on. I kind of got that they were going for that kind of frantic chaos at the start of the comic, but with the occasional random nonsequitur quotes at the top of some of the pages and the series’s jargon being tossed around so frequently (“What is pullspace?” I kept asking myself) I felt like a lot could have been done with a simple footnote or two to alleviate this. And the comic has a LOT of jargon. Tertiarists, pullspace, quanta, novak, etc. which didn’t help things.
The comic’s post script basically says it is a meta-contextual view of the universe to explore broad themes and the first three comics will be non stop. Judging this only on the first comic- I am straight confused and I don’t think that it is my fault. We get a LOT thrown at us and very little of it is literally explained. We are given clues or suggestions as to what certain things are, but we are never told outright. Clues build on clues and if you had one misconception, you are lost. I’m sure there are a lot of really big ideas and they will elaborate a great deal on them in the next few issues, but it really just doesn’t come across super clear to me now. That’s not to say you shouldn’t read this comic, you totally should. It both benefits and suffers under the weight of its own premise and I had to read it two or three times just to decipher it. It has a really bizarre core concept that won’t resonate with a lot of people. This is a very intellectually focused comic and it took a few re-reads to figure out what is going on. Sometimes they have characters speak with their words out of order and while it is a very nice, novel, touch, it does make it a tad hard to read.
I’ll credit this comic with being very brave in tackling such large themes and I’m looking forward to future comics in this series. Judging by its own merits it’s solid work, if not a bit out there. But come on… it’s called “Gonzo”, like the outlandish, journalistic style pioneered by Hunter S Thompson. It’s gotta be leading up to something good! Anyway, give it a read. It’s worth your time but I’d suggest waiting until the first two or three are out.