Six-Gun Gorilla #1
Six-Gun Gorilla #1

Six-Gun Gorilla #1

If you’re anything like me, Six-Gun Gorilla is the comic you’ve been waiting for your entire life, you just didn’t know it. This book combines some of my favorite things: gorillas, cowboys, sci-fi, steampunk, and a touch of mystery, into a genre-blending force of nature that’s difficult to put down.

It’s equal parts Truman Show and Full Metal Jacket. It’s the best first issue I’ve read in ages, and it’s a visual feast – not one that leaves you feeling sluggish and full to bursting, but one that satisfies but leaves you craving more.

A civil war has broken out between Earth and one of its colonies somewhere amidst the stars. Our protagonist is Blue-3425, a depressed and heart broken ex-librarian divorcé turned suicide soldier cannon fodder seeking death on the battlefied. His eyes have been outfitted as ocular relays, capturing everything he sees and transmitting it back to Earth for the viewing and visceral pleasure of the masses. War is pay-per-view, pirating the stream is punishable by death, and media corporations control the military-industrial complex. And there is a gorilla wielding a couple of revolvers with sandalwood grips.

We watch Blue-3425 head out into battle on the front lines. He has enlisted to die, and as long as he gives the viewers a good show, Bluetech-PV, the corporation that outfitted him with those fancy new eyes, will pay out some serious cash to the people in his will. His first orders are to help a wounded general whose unit has been decimated. But Spurrier and Stokely aren’t going to make it easy for him. Besides dodging enemy combatants, Blue and his other suiciders have to worry about sophisticated new drone-like weaponry, mutated wild life, earthquakes, and other such madness.

After his compatriots are picked off one by one by the unforgiving conflict and happenstance, Blue finds the general dying, gut shot and blind. The old bugger gives him a necklace, gives a nice little speech about love and commitment for the viewers, and passes on. Now Blue needs to deliver the necklace to the dead general’s missus, an undertaking that kicks off a series of inexorable consequences. Hints at deeper plots abound, deadly players are brought onto the field, and it’s off to the races! Title2-660x330 Spurrier does a great job of teasing the outline of this new universe without restorting to any sort of overt explanation. The story demands our utmost attention and engagement, otherwise you’re going to miss out on something. Six-Gun Gorilla embraces obscurity, celebrates perplexity, and challenges the reader from the very first page. It’s a breath of fresh air at a time when so many mainstream titles worry about being as accessible as possible, and in attempting, merely end up holding reader’s hands through every panel and word balloon. In Gorilla you don’t so much follow the narrative as you are ripped along in its wake. And that’s a good thing.

Jeff Stokeley’s art is a vision, capturing the dusty, hopeless, and brutal landscape of the spaghetting western warzone with impeccable style. I loved that the troop transports were hulking snapping turtle hybrids bred for war. Smokestacks erupt from their shells belching soot and ash. The soldiers can’t use traditional firearms, only clockwork and pneumatics, which translates into wicked looking saw blade launchers and other exotic instruments of death and dismemberment. This bring back wonderful memories of Dead Space…

The violence in Six-Gun Gorilla is ever-present, but it’s more abstract and stylized and screams over the top. People are suddenly liberated from their limbs, there are giant pieces of person that simply go missing, and massive concentric circles of ruinous explosion that send grunts to the great beyond. I hate to say it but it’s fun, accompanied by onomatopoeia almost as awesome as the stuff you’ll find in Skullkickers.

The only gripe I have with the art comes at the very beginning of the book. Blue and his fellow suicide buds look incredibly similar, and when they start biting it, I was never quite sure who was dying. The only way you can tell Blue apart, besides the fact that he lives, is that he wears glasses. If Stokely was going for the replaceable grunt idea he nailed it, but maybe a little too well. At the end of the day Six-Gun Gorilla #1 is smart, fun, engaging, gorgeous, intriguing, compelling, and a host of other adjectives you’d associate with a great comic. Like I said above, it’s the best first issue I’ve read in while, and you owe it to yourself to check it out.

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About The Author

Ben graduated with a degree in Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media from Michigan State University, finally figured out that he loved comics more than anything in the world, and moved to New York City to intern for Marvel. He lived in NYC for a while, freelance writing his own column for Marvel.com, “Unlimited Highlights” and waiting tables, but missed the Michigan greenery and moved back to attend grad school at MSU and study comics.

He was accepted into the school’s Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing program and worked for the Writing Center as a Graduate Coordinator, helping people of all writing levels improve their work. Flash forward two years and he’s a Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing master, the Scholarly Panel Coordinator for the MSU Comics Forum, and an Editorial Fellow at Symbolia Magazine, while still keeping up with his Marvel freelance gig, writing reviews for DestroyTheCyborg, and writing at his own blog, I Speak Comics. Comics have consumed his life and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

When he’s not reading, thinking, or writing about funny books he plays fighting games. He loves them ALMOST as much as he loves comics, which is scary. Currently he’s bringing the lightning as Shazam in Injustice: Gods Among Us, but he plays a bit of Guy in Street Fighter 4, Ezio in Soul Calibur 5, and Thor/Hulk/She-Hulk in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. If you’re on Xbox and have a hankering for a beat down, hit him up, he’s iFIGHT4food.

Is that it? He'll get back to you when something new and cool goes down.

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