Godshaper takes place in a world where (almost) everyone has their own personal god. That is apart from the “nogodies” anyway, who are akin to rats in the eyes of society. Our protagonist, Ennay, is a godless man and a “Shaper.’’ This means that while he doesn’t have his own personal guardian, he does possess a special power that enables him to change the powers and appearances of other people’s. In a world where he’s shunned, Ennay must con to get by and provide his services for clothes and food. Ennay only has one companion – a god without a believer named Bud. Together they travel from town to town doing whatever it takes to survive, making for an unlikely strange bedfellow pairing.
In this universe, Gods vary in size and appearance depending on one’s status on the social hierarchy. For example, if a person is rich and powerful their respective deity is large and extravagant. If they’re of a poorer standing their god is rather meagre. As you can imagine, people are always seeking to have their deity altered as a means to boost their public profile and that’s why Shapers, like Ennay, are required. While they are considered to be the lowest form of denominator by the godly folk, their services are still required by those who hold enough bargaining chips to exploit their powers.
Written by Simon Spurrier with art by Jonas Goonface, Godshaper is one of the most original comics in quite some time. The use of deities to represent man’s status and desires, as outlandish as it may seem on paper, is not only very imaginative, but it’s also a smart, funny metaphor for divisions within our society and the importance of self-image. However, despite the oddness of the premise, Spurrier and Goonface do an excellent job of world building; Ennay is referred to as a “nogoder’’ by those he’s forced to serve, which highlights that this is a society where substantial discrimination exists. Furthermore, the first few frames establish that this is a world where gods exist and nothing about it feels out of the ordinary. Additionally, Goonface’s artwork is packed with emotion and detail, which only serves to enhance the believability of the characters and the universe they populate. All in all, for all its unusual qualities, Godshaper feels sincere from the get go.
In addition to boasting a unique concept that will differentiate it from other ongoing series at the moment, Godshaper possesses biting social commentary pertinent to our times. Tackling topics like worship, wealth, inequality and prejudice, the story presents issues rooted in realism through a fantastical lens, providing both food for thought and otherworldly escapism. Spurrier is renowned for his ability to tackle complex issues in his storytelling and Godshaper is no different – and it might even be his best work to date. Godshaper looks at a world where gods are akin to materials and only serve to boost man’s ego and desires. So far there isn’t much in the way of human decency, but at least there is brains and humour to complement its cynical viewpoint of mankind.
Godshaper #1 is available now.