A God Somewhere
by John Arcudi
Joseph Campbell once said, “The only way you can describe a human being truly is by describing his imperfections.” That statement holds true for our depictions of superheroes. It isn’t the super powers that pull us into a story, it’s the tragic flaws of the characters involved, the interplay between supreme power in ability and gaping deficiencies in personality.
In Wildstorm’s new graphic novel, A God Somewhere, writer John Arcudi fleshes out deeply tragic imperfections while telling the tale of Eric Forster’s transformation from regular Joe to superhero, and ultimately, to monster with his logic that only Nietzsche would find convincing. A God Somewhere is possibly the most humane and real take on the superhero genre yet. It explores the question of what if a regular, everyday sort of person was suddenly all-powerful and God-like?
The graphic novel is a release from Wildstorm, a publishing imprint of DC Comics. Arcudi’s writing is matched with equal power by artist Peter Snejbjerg’s art and Bjarne Hansen’s coloring. The visual appeal of the novel comes in its graphic realness and expressiveness, allowing the story to unravel, sometimes by panel artwork alone.
The actual story centers around four main characters: Eric the pro/antagonist, his brother Hugh, Hugh’s wife Alma, and childhood friend of the Forster brothers, Sam. Through the use of flashbacks, the viewer is taken back in time to learn the roots of the connections between the four. The story touches upon race relations (Sam is black), the search for love and respect amongst brothers, forbidden love (Sam is in love with Hugh’s wife, Alma), religion (Eric being a devout Christian), and friendship even before the superhero motif kicks into full gear. A mysterious meteorite hits Eric’s apartment building one night. The other three characters race to the scene, with Sam finding an unscathed Eric sitting upright in his bed looking out to an open street scene, Eric’s apartment building being half-destroyed.
The story is driven through the eyes of Alma, Sam, and Hugh, not showing much insight into the motivations and thoughts behind what happens to Eric and what he ultimately becomes. Eric, at first, is prized as a national hero, culminating in meetings with the President of the Unites States. As time goes on, Eric’s contempt for the affection and attention of the public only grows, while his relationship with the people he loves becomes strained. The two together slowly drive Eric into a frenzy, sending him on a rampage killing hundreds of people.
The novel reflects age-old ideas between the potential of humanity and its reality, caught up in war, greed, and self-satisfaction. Through the use of extremely violent images and a compelling script, A God Somewhere is thought-provoking, entertaining, and, at times, a mirror reflecting humanity’s imperfections.
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