Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Goddess


Garth Ennis' works are notable for extreme violence, vulgarity, profanity, the Irish, sexual perversion and true heart. One of his first major works for a major publisher, Goddess, has all the hallmarks of a Garth Ennis story, and I'm going to review it.

Rosie Nolan wakes up one day and has this incredible power to cause earthquakes and other random things. It manifests itself as a great green glow. When the CIA and the American military find out about this, they send their best man, Hooks, after her, and her friends Mudhawk, a huge hulking bastard, his ex, Sam a pilot, and caught up in this is the narrator, Jeff, a cowardly everyman. On top of this is Constable Dixon and the Butcher Bruvvers, an Ennis-archetypal duo of stupid giants with a love of death.

From the UK to Rio De Janeiro to New York to the North Pole, the chase is on. Of course, at the end, we find out the origin of Rosie's mysterious godlike powers, and what everybody is after.

This was funny and thrilling and mysterious and hilarious and entertaining and heartfelt and true. This is the exact reason why I love Garth Ennis so much. All the main characters are breathing real people with realistic actions, and all the villains are hilarious and get their just Ennis-style comeuppance. All the elements are there: the profanity, the sexual perversion, the extreme violence and the heart. The love story blossoming between Jeff and Rosie isn't your typical love story, but Ennis style: full of mistakes and Freudian slips and knees to the crotch.

Of course, Phil Winslade's art helps the whole process. It's realistic and anatomically on the ball, but with a very high level of detail, kind of like Steve McNiven or Phil Jimenez, but in a widescreen style like Bryan Hitch. Almost early Howard Chaykin, really. Winslade's able to capture the subtle facial expressions required to sell a lot of Ennis' jokes quite well.

I can't say this is my favourite Ennis work, but it's still terrific. I didn't go into this expecting a masterpiece considering it's an early work, but it threw me for a loop and greatly entertained me. Highly recommended for Ennis fans and recommended to non-Ennis fans, as well. It's a perfect introduction to the man and his work.

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