A God Somewhere tiptoes the boundary between Wildstorm, its actual publisher, and Vertigo, DC’s heavier and more mature back end of comic book titles. John Arcudi’s original graphic novel evolves from a simplistic, almost cliched tale of a man who wakes up with superpowers to an unrecognizable nightmare that ruins everything, and everyone, in its path.
The first chapter begins with a message of destruction, but the narrator’s warning only grazes the violence to ensue. Readers should brace themselves for a terrifying and gut-wrenching experience. Outlined with implications (unfulfilled love, a severed connection between brothers, racial indiscretions), the comic quickly takes a dramatic turn in exploiting them. When an unidentified explosion rips through Eric Forster’s apartment building, many are left dead or buried—except for a completely unscathed Eric. What’s more, he soon develops an omniscient mentality, knowing when and where others need his now superhuman assistance. The change rattles those close to him in different ways, but the initially pleasant book gradually falls into uncomfortable territory once Eric’s personality, intelligence, and world view show signs of tampering.
Eric ascends from lowlife to hero to godly titan, and the more readers distance themselves from Eric as a force for good and understand the gravity of his presence, the weirder the story becomes. Alongside the writing, Peter Snejbjerg’s visuals take a journey of their own, reinforcing the plot’s twisted progression. To say the book is dark would be a frightening understatement: Arcudi’s storytelling mortifies. It sickens. Rape, senseless genocide, and lifelong fear replace light concerns and stability. Eric’s transformation, as well as the comic’s, is agonizing and purely gripping. Interestingly, the changes in Eric reflect upon those around him: He thinks himself biblical when others do, a killer when he is suspected of misdeed, and a monster when the world fears him.
By no easy means, Arcudi manages a positive ending, reminding us that in hardship there are miracles, good and bad, and the greatest people are sometimes just “little chapters to this giant, sprawling story.”