Writer: Ken Garing
Artist: Ken Garing
Publisher: Image Comics
I always have a hard time writing a review about a first issue. It’s like reviewing the first couple of pages of a 30+ pages book, I don’t think we have enough content to realize the full picture. Although I will sometimes get inspired by some first issues here and there, and that’s the case with Gogor.
I first learned about Gogor on an Instagram post, a couple of months ago. I was so fascinated by the colors used, I had to get it. I can’t really find the words to describe how mesmerizing I find this beautiful cover.
Let’s first talk about the actual story. Gogor is a new Fantasy aimed for teens written, drawn and colored by KEN GARING (PLANETOID). It tells the story of Armano, a young man who receive the mysterious quest of waking up a mythical giant sleeping under the floating islands of Altara in order to free the land of violent soldiers.
With this first huge issue of 28 pages, KEN GARING is bringing us on a long trip and it’s no surprise. Right away, I knew I stepped into what would be the start of a huge adventure and I surprisingly enjoyed it – yes, me. The most impatient person in the world. – After this first issue, the promises are already clear: we should expect something big with a complete universe full of different characters.
The good news is: I am already fascinated by his creation. There is this one splash-page where we see the floating islands on a blue-sky background and I remember being so mesmerized by it, I actually took a picture of it just to remember how beautiful of a page it is. I was interested in seeing how KEN GARING would play with his universe made in a circle. And I was even happier when I saw some of the actions taking place going up and down the islands. I think it gives a nice dynamic to the action scenes and when you keep in mind the fact that it’s actually a circular world, you’re not lost in the action scenes.
I would’ve wished to have maybe more details concerning the characters personality. We know Armano is a student of the Natural Arts, but it’s never clearly explained what consist of the Natural Arts. In fact, we are kind of thrown into the story without much explanations. The first scene is Armano running through the forest on his giant mole (quite cute actually, I kind of want one!) – we don’t have much of previous information…. But so does Armano. He doesn’t understand why everything is happening or what he has to do and why. As previously said, the author settled the reader for what looks like numerous following numbers so I’m guessing we are going to learn at the same paste as the character, one page at a time.
I can also sense there’s going to be kind of a chivalrous quest. Something with a lot of heart, good vs bad, integrity and authenticity in the characters. I can imagine KEN incorporating a personal quest of self-improvement for the young Armano. Subjects that can help to bring a large audience from young readers to more advanced and passionate ones.
Speaking of themes, Gogor is the name of the big giant sleeping underground. He’s mysterious like a legend. Nobody can tell where he is from and that’s what the author was aiming for. We can deduct that the story will revolve around discovering the origins of Gogor, maybe more so than the actual story of Armano. Also having soldiers and peasants as revolving characters helps set the tone to this new series: I am expecting to see some political or structural situation… Probably a rebellion – a theme that can either go perfectly right…. Or totally wrong.
Following up with the art that I absolutely adore: it is colorful, it is vibrant, it is bold. It is incredible. This is totally up my alley and I love everything about it. The use of thick lines, high contrast and saturation to such vibrant colors bring so much life to the story. I really appreciate the absence of tiny details and a more… I want to say structured look? It’s simple but effective: I know where and what to look at and that’s perfect for such a dense story.
Where the story is lacking some precision, I feel like we can find it in the art. The details and creatures of the universe, understanding the provenance of soldiers and Armano.
We can see a fully black and generic armor on the soldiers whom we never see the faces, representing a structured removal of identity to represent a rather authoritarian army and probably government. Whereas Armano wears a fluid and colorful poncho with no helmet – probably a sign of a more peaceful background. Armano is actually the only character we see his eyes and facial expressions in this first issue. The focus is clearly on him.
Also, there is a lot of thought put into the different panels. I particularly love this one scene where the character asks his mole to go faster… And you can actually see the mole crying from the wind. Loved that.
Overall this new story is asking us to be ready for what seems to be a fully packed adventure. I am honestly curious to see how the writer is going to develop it. Yes, this first issue doesn’t tell you much about who and why… But it gives you enough emotion to anticipate what’s coming. I have thousands of different theories of what this story could become, I am curious to see what the author is creating for us. I can see and appreciate the efforts that were put into this story and I appreciate every single detail.
If you like fantasy adventures and colorful environment, I think you have nothing to lose to pick this up at your next visit to your LCS. Number 1 and 2 are already out and 3 is coming in July. I am excited to learn more about Gogor!