Armano gets a firsthand look at a culture twisted by technology and new ideas. Is this also related to the Domus, and is this what is coming to all of Altara? Find out in Gogor #4!

Gogor #4 ReviewGOGOR #4

Writer: Ken Garing
Artist: Ken Garing
Letterer: Ken Garing
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 14, 2019

Previously in Gogor: Armano (the former student from Academea) learns that he is now Gogor’s Keeper; where Gogor leads, he must follow. Tetra Hedron presents him with a crystal skiff to fly between islands. Armano and Gogor return to Wexil and the shrew and as they set off for the next island they must visit, they are attacked by the assassin Amphax. After a fight, Gogor flings him away, at the cost of losing one of his bones, his only body part that cannot get rejuvenated. They make their way to Animalea, populated by anthropomorphic animals, and there they find Rector Bice from Academea.

A SHARP CRITIQUE OF MATERIAL CULTURE

Who would have thought Gogor #4 could get pretty biting? Hang on, because we get some clear social commentary. Armano and friends land in a camp on Animalea where the animal men gather and do business. It looks much like Armano’s vision, and he assumes he must have fulfilled the vision’s message. Rector Bice admonishes him to look around more carefully, and Wexil makes a comment on how the main city, Azimuth, has changed. It has become a walled city.

Here’s where we start plunging into the commentary. Animalea used to have an idealistic society. Azimuth was a center of trade, based on a neighborly system of credit, with annual debt cancellation. But after some of their people had traveled far and return, they adopted new ways – building walls and considering items property as opposed to communal goods, which appears to be nearly universal in Altara. Many people have the city to return to their traditional life, but the city continues to be a blight.

Armano feels he must sneak in and find out more, and a friendly frog named Rumsel has just the idea. If he sits on Armano’s head with his cape draped around him, the two of them combined will look like an animal man.

On a bleak, rocky island elsewhere on Altara, Amphax faces Magus and rehashes his failure to kill Armano and return with the scroll. He still has Gogor’s bone though, and upon hearing this, we meet another character, a small, toothy animal person dressed in a strange protective suit. He is interested in the bone and has some idea of its power.

Armano and Rumsel sneak into the city with a bag of what passes for currency, and a lightning quick explanation of just how currency works. The new city guards are dressed in armored suits just like the Domus, but on questioning, have never heard of them. And then we get to the delightful commentary, presented just lightly enough to be pointed yet still have some humor. A guard strikes a tuning fork, and it turns out that the greatest thing in town are crystal tuning plates (just about the size and shape of a smartphone). The tuning fork is struck, and a floating image of a cube appears. It’s the greatest. Everybody wants the latest crystal plate so they can see this for themselves. Armano doesn’t see the point.

His time gets harder as he has to pay for a room in a mainly empty inn. He gets into a discussion about owning stuff, and his water bottle gets broken. Outside, he meets some poor people, one of whom is ill. No one will help them because they cannot pay. One thing leads to another, and Armano is exposed as a human.

A SHEER DELIGHT

In contrast to the story theme, Gogor #4 continues to be absolutely lovely to look at. The coloring is vibrant with just enough patches of brightness or contrast to draw your eyes to the main characters. Having a verdant, natural world enables Garing to use a warm, rich palette which is so pleasing to the eye. The opening scenes in the camp on Animalea take full advantage of this, and the various shots of the animal people here living their lives and doing their things are so joyful and rustic. (And just look at the cover. It captures this flavor.)

This also sets up the city of Azimuth as a stark contrast. The city buildings are organic in shape, as though they were inspired by termite mounds. But the streets are empty, not bustling. The people here, instead of being industriously engaged in creative pursuits, are playing with their crystal devices. And the people seem so cranky. It may be a bit over the top, but it should work well for younger readers who, I believe, are the target audience.

BOTTOM LINE: A WORLD AT THE CROSSROADS

The metaphor at the root of Gogor #4 speaks to us today. The conflict is clearly turning to man vs. society, always pertinent in an age full of uncertainty. I like that Nature is given a strong voice, as though it has an active stake in the conflict. There is so much to look at and think about, but Garing works hard to keep the story clear, setting up each issue so that we look forward to the next.


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Gogor #4

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87%
A World at a Crossroads

It’s one thing to sneak into the city of Azimuth in disguise, but can Armano get safely out again?

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About Author

By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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