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Review Group: Gorilla-Man #1

Written by John Martin on Tuesday, July 20 2010 and posted in Reviews

48THRiLLS had the pick for new comics shipping July 14th and he selected Gorilla-Man #1 by Jeff Parker and Giancarlo Caracuzzo.

The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

After yet another cancellation, Agents of Atlas seems to have become the little book that couldn't, but here we are reading a spinoff mini nontheless.  How's that working out?

0714-gorilla-man_cover.jpgReview by Eli Katz

I actually managed to get to my LCS today. Fuck work, I said.

But I could not read the monkey book. It's just not my type of story. Like Twigglet, I hate talking animals in comics and I can't get past it.

Sorry. I couldn't get beyond page 3. I did flip through to the back of the comic and it seemed to contain an old Stan Lee-Jack Kirby reprint. I didn't read that, either, because it seemed to feature more apes.

The art was fun and cartoony. But it didn't make me want to read a story about a gorilla that disguises himself as a normal-looking guy.

ART: 7

Review by BlueStreak

Basically, this issue is another nail in the coffin of Atlas. I feel like Marvel gave Jeff Parker enough rope to hang himself with, and this issue (along with the main Atlas title) just shows how Parker has been unable to capture the magic of the original miniseries.

The story is lame, the art sucks. This book can best be described by my friend who saw this on my couch last night: "What the fuck is a Gorilla Man and why the hell would anyone buy this?"

Story: 2
Art: 2
Overall: 2


Review by starlord

Huh. I have no problem with talking monkies or gorillas at all. Talking animal's are fun. This talking animal... not so fun. It's nice to learn the origin of this guy, and maybe if I had read Atlas at all I'd find this more interesing (though by the sound of it I'm thinking no). But within the first four pages I was really struggling to get through this. The action scene's were generic at best, the art wasn't too bad but nothing to write home about. There was nothing here to make me want to read the rest of it. But I'm giving it a higher score than last week because even as dull as this book was, at least the characters were likable.

Story: 3
Art: 5
My Score: 4


Review by Punchy

Story  - Well, that was certainly a comic about a talking Gorilla shooting guns on a motorbike. Yep, it sure was.

Books like Gorilla-Man are the kind of comics where you don't really want to have high expectations. You want to see a talking Gorilla shoot things, and that's it, you're not expecting anything more. It's the kind of comic that works on a high-concept, almost Internet-meme level. And in this issue, Parker certainly delivers on the wacky high-concept stuff. Gorilla-Man Vs. A Zombie-Spider-Borgias and a load of buxom hench-chicas. The opening 9 pages are just the kind of silliness you'd expect from a comic entitled Gorilla-Man.

But things get a little more sedate once Gorilla-Man is sent on a new Agents Of Atlas adventure by Jimmy Woo, he even decides to use an Image-Inducer a la Nightcrawler to hide his Simian nature. Where's the fun in that? This main plot seems to follow the pattern of the last few Atlas stories, with the Agents (or one Agent) heading into a rogue Atlas cell and sort it out.

So there you have it, Gorilla-Man shoots things and cracks some jokes, done and dusted.

Except it's not. You see, previous stories have understandably focussed on the Gorilla side of the Gorilla-Man equation, and it's worked out fine in that afore-mentioned OTT meme sense. But now Parker has finally turned his attention to the 'Man' inside Gorilla-Man. We are getting an insight into Ken Hale's personal history and life. Plucked Charles Foster-Kane like from Depression-Era Missouri, Ken becomes a Pulp-style adventure, journeying across the world with his new Guardian from a young age. Parker has always enjoyed tackling storytelling styles and eras in the Atlas stories, and I'm glad to see Ken Hale's Young Indiana Jones style life shown here. I assume this flashback will show eventually how Ken became the Gorilla-Man eventually, but for now it's interesting to see the contrast between the Gorilla and the Man. I think in our childish delight at seeing talking monkeys, we forget that being trapped as a Gorilla must be a pretty shitty thing to deal with, and I like that Parker seems to be exploring this. Some readers may ask why a character as goofy as Gorilla-Man really needs to be humanised and explored in depth, but I'd say a character can only survive as a joke for so long before it gets old. The novelty of a Gorilla with guns may run out at any time, and then, we'll need to see a real character underneath all the wackiness.

This is a book of contrasts, much like the character, and I did enjoy it, as a massive fan of Parker's work on Atlas (cancelled again, alas!) I'll take any of these characters whenever I can get it, and when they're pleasantly surprising like this, all the better.

Art - Giancarlo Caracuzzo is an artist I'm not familiar with, but he does strong work here. He draws a good Gorilla, nice and expressive, but still realistic as a Primate. His work chiefly reminded me of Dan Panosian, who was the artist on a couple issues of the first Agents Of Atlas ongoing (cancelled! alas!). When an artist is adept at drawing a realistic American dustbowl as he is a giant Spider-Monster, then you know he's good.

Best Line - 'Mamma Mia! The Gorilla-Man!'



Review by 48THRiLLS

I am starting to think that Jeff Parker caught lightning in a bottle when he wrote the first Agents of Atlas mini that came out a few years back, because since he has attempted twice at an ongoing that have now both failed (and deservedly so IMO) and He has written the Agents of Atlas back-ups in Incredible Hercules that I found underwhelming... now we have These Agents of Atlas mini's the first which was about Marvel Boy and now this Gorilla-Man mini. My first main problem with this comic was... not enough Gorilla. I didn't like the veil that masked his Gorilla awesomeness and I felt that all the bad-ass moments that he has had in previous Atlas adventures where lost because of that. I also didn't care for how this ended... it just sorta ends with no hook to make me come back. I was at first expecting a full on Gorilla-Man origin story and when I saw that I wasn't gonna get that I at least hoped for some awesome Gorilla-Man bad-assery full of fun one liners and 4 guns a blazing in all of his hands and feet... did anyone notice that he had boots on the whole issue except when he was using his feet to shoot? I know it's a nit-pick and I don't really care but since I was disappointed with issue I noticed it... anyways... I did really like the art despite that, Caracuzzo draws a pretty cool Gorilla and the motorcycle pages are fun... I wouldn't be disappointed to see a little more of his art on other books.

I probably won't finish out this series which is a shame because I was so excited for it when it was announced, I don't know what Parker is doing here but he needs to do less of it and more of this!


It hurts me to score this low since I am a big fan of these characters and think Parker is a good writer but they can't all be hits I guess...

ART - 8


Review by guitarsmashley

I liked this issue a lot. I thought the first few pages were junk but once the action was over the book did nothing but shine. This isn't a book I'll continue but it did do two things, it introduced me to Jeff Parker and it made me go back and buy the first Agents of Atlas book. I can't say that many of the books we review do that for me. Good job review group.



Review by John Snow

So I just read this... not a whole lot to say. The action at the beginning was pretty standard and the setup for the story that followed didn't offer a lot of intrigue. Maybe if you dig Atlas or Gorilla-Man this might have offered something for you, but I couldn't get into it. The art wasn't much to look at either.

Story: 5
Art: 4
Overall: 4.5


Review by Victorian Squid

See John Snow's review. Same. If Atlas isn't selling as a team book, I don't see how books on single members like this are gonna work either.



Review by thefourthman

That was a fun little comic. It was not a masterpiece, but it was not dreck.

After an excuse to show our boy Ken shooting automatic weapons while playing Matt Hoffa off a motorcycle, we get some heavy exposition into a mission in the Congo interspersed with some origin type stuff that is more intriguing than the actual meat of the book.

The art is fun and playful, like the writing, nothing spectacular – either in a good or bad way.

It’s an average book and deserves an average-ish score.

Story 3
Art 3
Overall 6


Review by Jubilee

What a middling average comic. It doesn't try anything. I give this a generous 2. You put it down and can't remember ANYTHING about it.

That gives Gorilla-Man #1 a group score of 4.55.  Egads!  We're reading some terrible comic books lately.  Hopefully the pick in two weeks will be better.  No pressure or anything Amoebas.

If you want some fancy cupcakes or to maybe even post your own review, check out this week's thread for yourself in The News Stand forum.

Comment or post your own review!

doombug has the pick for next week and to prove once and for all that he hates me, selected Time Masters: Vanishing Point #1 published by DC Comics.  Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning if a fistfull of random pills and a bottle of cheap bourbon don't do me in first. 

0721-timemasters_cover.jpgTime Masters: Vanishing Point #1

Written by DAN JURGENS

"The Search for Batman" starts here! Vanishing Point – where time ends – is tearing itself apart, and one of the keys to keeping reality from being torn asunder is finding exactly where Bruce Wayne is in the time stream! Rip Hunter puts together a high-powered band of Time Masters to travel throughout history in search of the World's Greatest Detective, but can even the combined might and skill of Superman, Green Lantern and Booster Gold help the Time Master pinpoint where Batman went at the end of FINAL CRISIS?

DCU fans won't want to miss this 6-issue companion series to the highly anticipated BATMAN: THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE (see page 77)!

DC Universe | 32pg. | Color | $2.99 US


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