Jawbreakers: God-King Review - Ya Boi Levels Up to God-Tier
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
• Splatto Comics (Publisher)
Jawbreakers: Lost Souls was one of the first crowdfunded projects I backed after discovering Richards Diversity & Comics Youtube channel. I thought it was a decent book. The story was fine, the art was decent but I wasn't blown away by any aspect of the graphic novel.
The most shocking part of Lost Souls was how inoffensive it was. Richard has been called everything but the son of God yet the series was pretty tame. Even if you compare it to mainstream comic Lost Souls was pretty safe. There were a couple of awkward racial jokes, but aside from that the was a solid effort from a talent that Marvel would consider one of their "Young Guns".
God-King improves on Lost Souls in nearly every way. The story is easier to follow. The scenes transition a lot better. The stakes are suitably high and the villain is a legit threat. The art is also league's better this time around. I like John Malin as an artist but Aaron blow's him out of the water and seems to have more range in his storytelling ability.
Aaron doe's great action sequences that are intense and can also convey subtle emotional nuances between characters. That's something I felt was missing from Lost Souls. There are a few scenes between Cuffs and Silkworm that work beautifully because of Aaron's ability able to convey emotion without dialogue. In fact, Cuff's get's most of my favorite moments throughout the graphic novel. The updates are greatly appreciated. Cuff's portrayal in Lost Souls was dangerously close to being a racial stereotype.
The humor for God-King also feels more organic. When characters bust each other's balls it feels natural you buy that these men have been working together for some time. This feeling carries over through every character interaction.
The one character that I feel takes a step back is Silkworm. He's a badass and gets some cool moments. My gripe is that he comes off a bit too competent. In one of Richards's videos, he mentioned that he had written himself into a corner. After reading God-King I think the clunkier exposition scenes with Silkworm are Richard attempting to write himself out of the obvious problem. How does a group of street-level heroes take down a Proteus or Molecule Man level threat?
God-King gets a satisfying conclusion but I can see the threads being pulled.
Xaxi: Reborn was a great read and another example of Richard's growth as a writer. One of the legit bad aspects of Lost Souls was the Xaxi-Cuff's romance. I never believed that these two characters were in love. When Xaxi was killed I didn't feel anything. Even worse, when the character was killed off the transition was so bad I missed it.
The scenes were just rough and the fault was a combination of a forced relationship and odd transitions that never let the characters breathe long enough to have established any connection. This time around It feels like two people that love each other and are working out their issues The situation is fantastical but manages to feel real. I know Richard probably would never tackle a romance comic but I believe he would be good at it.
I want to call special attention to the Devil Dog origin story. This one was amazing and reminded me of G.I. Joe more than any other book set in this universe. Most of the best action aside from the Knifehand scenes occur in the Devil Dog origin.
I also appreciated that Richard and Chuck Dixon gave us LGBTQ representation without pandering. Devil Dog is bi, it's referenced in the book casually and never mentioned again. I'm a straight Black man and although I'm not Gay I often get into arguments with people that believe my entire identity is tied to my melanin content. It's not, and we're not a hivemind either. Devil Dog is on the LGBTQ spectrum but he's so much more as a character. I know Ya Boi is hated by the industry but the industry can learn a lot from these guys when it comes to representation.
Aside from the general complaints about Silkworm's depiction I don't have many gripes with God-King. If there was a most improved category in comics Richard would be a shoo-in for the award. That's the best compliment I can give and I can't wait to see what's next.