Master Europa

Six-Gun Gorilla #4 – Review

The Story: As Blue is getting lectured by the gorilla about what might be happening to him, trouble happen in the town of Tango.

The Review: Mini-series are curious things. Marketed as being complete stories told in a limited number of issues, most of them are prone to their own logics. The pacing, how the themes are handled, how the characters are presented are all handled by the creative team and their own desires. While some of these traits can also be attributed to the regular ongoing adventures in other comics, there is a self-inflicted limit on mini-series on their length, which makes some of the decision either surprising or very confusing for some readers.

Six-Gun Gorilla could pretty much be one of the poster child for such a statement, as the half-point is past and the overall direction of the mini-series still seem to be mysterious even at that point. It is both a strength and a weakness, as it provide enough plot points to be able to thoroughly take the readers by surprise, yet those who really want to know why there’s such a focus on Blue and what the medallion means may see a certain degradation of their patience. Even in this issue we don’t really get any answer as merely a few of the pieces on the chessboard moving toward their eventual final position. It’s not necessarily a bad things, per se, as the major strength of this mini-series, so far, was its originality as Simon Spurrier went along and brought bizarre and novel ideas on the page with each issue. This one doesn’t break this trend, as the wildlife, how the war is portrayed as entertainment and the role of the man with the mysterious hat gets more preeminent in terms of development. It is a weird sci-fi and political world that Spurrier is created and he is clearly having a blast with all those weird concepts.

Where Spurrier seems to have the more fun, though, is with the dynamics between Blue and the titular gorilla, as the interactions they have is solid gold. Emulating some sort of pseudo man-with-no-name akin to the character as created by Sergio Leone with some philosophical approach to the world, the gorilla becomes a much more interesting character as a result, which is brought to a better angle when he is speaking with Blue. As Blue, the protagonist of the story is dealing with the random happenstances of his adventure and how he came in to be in the middle of events far beyond his understanding, the dialogue he has with the gorilla becomes rapidly more and more amusing as even he seems to be amiss of the purpose of this story. Like the readers, Blue discovers things from this world and the events around him, which makes him rather endearing despite his whole attitude in this issue.

What’s a bit less endearing, though, is the fact that this book jumps around between each scenes and with multiple focus perhaps a bit too much. While there are many angles that this story covers, not all of them are highlighted in a way that makes everything fun or even easy to follow as there are still pieces of the puzzle that the readers still don’t have access to. It can be a rather frustrating experience to not be able to fully experience something because a tiny detail is missing.

What is the opposite of frustrating, though, is Jeff Stokely and his art in this issue, which is beautiful in a lot of areas. There are a multitude of panels that are simply beautiful in term of compositions, showing a comparison between regular elements next to extraordinary ones to create an eerie effect of beauty which are mostly seen in the first scene with Blue and the gorilla. The depiction of the alien world and the western vibe that Stokely shows is also quite solid, bringing the vision of this strange world to life with talent. Where he shines less, though, are the lesser details, which are almost non-existent in a lot of panels. While it is frequent to see a lesser amount of complex details as the characters and elements are delegated to the background, many of the elements are seemingly drawn in a way that simulate as if they were far away, even though they are central to the panels in which they are featured. It’s no deal-breaker, but it makes some of these panels feel a little bit rushed.

What doesn’t seem to be rushed at all is the colorization of André May. There is a very rich and vibrant palette here, as the use of several tone of warmer and colder colors in the background, mixed with the large use of dark in some scenes and red in the others makes for a striking comparison. The depiction of this alien world as shown through the colors is neatly done and it works really well with the script and the art.

The Conclusion: While the direction and some of the elements remain mysterious even after more than half of the series is done, Spurrier retains the readers interest with some good concepts, some terrific dialogue and the characterization while Stokely and May bring their talent on the artistic side. It’s still weird, but it’s also still fun to read.

Grade: B

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