Ever wonder what it would be like to be a God? A God Somewhere takes an interesting look into that very subject.
This is a novel that sets up a small set of characters to follow, but really is telling a story about just one. Brothers Eric and Hugh are likable guys. One is a beach bum with a heart while the other is a bit more adult, having married his new wife Alma. Best friend Sam, who the brothers saved from a racial beating in high school, has been friends with them for years but is closer to Eric.
A turn of events happens when Eric is given super human powers. Soon all of their lives are turned upside-down. At first, Eric uses his powers for good but then takes a rapid u-turn and decides to use them for himself. In a world without superheroes, how do you stop a man with god-like powers?
The premise is not new but this tale is not about the super, it’s more about humanity. The relationship between all four of these characters is built up beautifully with the first page being a simple tale about them buying a boat as it gives you a taste of their lives. This is further expanded by some great flashbacks to all the characters either at college or at home just talking about nothing but it’s the simple conversations that later on in the story seems much more relevant. Everything in this book is interconnected.
The event that transforms Eric into a super human is not entirely explained (there is a very Night of the Living Dead segment about metal meteors but no definitive answer) and you don’t need it either. This is about how the characters react to what has happened, not the event itself.
John Arcudi (B.R.P.D) has masterfully crafted these characters to be interesting but also relatable. All the events that occur to each of the people in this story feel all the more tragic because you can see each of their perspectives. Peter Snejbjerg (Preacher) does a superb job of sculpting these people into likable characters. There is a lot of graphic violence in this book and Peter’s art makes it horrific to see and slightly sickening because it’s happening around people you have grown to like. Peter has a great style, a mix of Edward Risso (100 Bullets) and Steve Dillon (Preacher). In fact, this book plays out very much like a story form the Preacher universe.
Let’s look at how the story arcs relate to each character now:
Hugh, for example, is worried about the distance his new marriage has caused between his brother and his best friend. With Eric gaining super powers, it only extends this distance even more. Hugh only gets to see Eric fleetingly and in a turning point for both Hugh and Eric, a fight between the two seals their fates. Alma unfortunately is not given as much to do as the others but some truly terrible things happen to her character that you cannot help but feel a certain amount of empathy for her. She is also someone that Sam has had a crush on for some time so the events in this book alter their relationship drastically.
Eric starts out as a likable character but the signs start to show slowly that his new powers are doing more than affect his body. It starts with less contact with his family and more with his spiritual side (believing he has been given these powers to do god’s work). It becomes more obvious when a now fully bearded Eric upstages the president and then goes on a bloody rampage which starts with (SPOILER ALERT) the rape of Alma and crippling his own brother. Eric has lost his way, proceeds onto said bloody rampage, then pulls a Bruce Banner and just leaves only attacking when the army attack him. Eric goes from believing there is a god to believing he is better than us, essentially becoming a god himself.
His perception of reality is removed from how we see it makes you think about how super powers could affect someone. For him, we become living filth and contamination. In the end, however, this is the gift he gives to Sam; a brief taste of his powers so he can see what that feeling of elation and distance can cause.
Sam is the main story focal point. It’s really through his eyes we see the fun having a super friend can have (lots of women for one, I wonder if this kind of thing ever happens to Jimmy Olsen?) but then also the extreme distress and horror when Eric turns his powers on humanity. Sam becomes a roving reporter with a news crew desperately trying to find his friend and ask him one question, Why? This is his drive throughout the book and does he get the answer? Well that would be telling!
The ending is tragic but understandable especially when we have grown and experienced life with these people. To say too much about the end of the plot in general would take away from the fun of reading this. It’s a book to be enjoyed and savored, to feel each character’s experience then to put down the book and ponder. It will continue to gnaw at you even after you have finished the book with questions still arise challenging you to read it again. In short, Peter and John have crafted a little super hero epic similar to Marvels or Kingdom Come but on a much smaller scale. Go out and read this book again and again, you’ll get something new from it each time. Five out of five Grizzlies.