By Levi Remington
Just in case you didn't already know what to expect from a book with a title that merges "orgasm" and "armageddon" – especially when the grotesque and absurd "shock-rock" metal/punk band GWAR is attached – I've got your back as I'm here to review the ridiculously over-the-top first issue to the new miniseries by Matt Miner and GWAR's own Matt Maguire. Funded back in October of 2016 through Kickstarter, this comic serves purely as a love letter to the fans. Featuring characters from the band's mythology like Beefcake, Jizmak, and Balsac (just to give you an idea of what we're working with here), who join the rest of the band in a sci-fi adventure through time and space, encountering plenty of strange foes, spewing loads of bad jokes, and ultimately providing very little entertainment.
I am not too familiar with the band GWAR, despite having some idea about the kind of act they put on: full-on monster gear, embracing the silliness, lots 'o profanity. They play a kind of rambunctious metal (he said, completely out of his element); attempt to pronounce the band's name aloud in your most grumbly voice and you'll approach a similar sound. The point is, unlike the fans, I'm not already on board with the band's shtick, so this comic had a difficult task ahead of it. The reality is that it doesn't even come close to succeeding. If you weren't into GWAR before, there's nothing here to change your mind.
This book is a chore to read, honestly. When the primary focus of your book is comedy and nothing is funny, you're left with nothing redeemable (save the art, but we'll get to that later). This feels like it was written by man-children, for man-children. The kind of people who think the slightest genitalia reference is comedy gold, or that playing fast and loose with sexism and racism puts you on the fast track to effectively "edgy" comedy even if you lack the wit to do it tastefully. These are the inside jokes you're proud to be outside of.
On the other hand, the art is quite pleasant. When it's not too chaotic (as the story so frequently and needlessly becomes), it has got a really approachable style. The colors are nice and bright, giving characters some otherwise-nonexistent personality. Environments can be bland though, and there's hardly any panels that "set the stage" so to speak. There's no establishing the scene or environment in any aesthetically appealing way, but the colors do a good job at providing distinction. The gore is well-done, leaning much more towards the humorously absurd rather than the horrifically grotesque. And the character designs are imaginative at the very least. Thankfully, the art provides some continuity that the convoluted story completely lacks. If it wasn't for that, I'm afraid of just how incomprehensible and frustrating this book would be.
This isn't a good comic for anyone besides GWAR diehards, who would probably be better off with a new album anyway. It's poorly written, full of nonsensical plot garbage, and stricken with tasteless humor. If the fourth wall had a glory hole, GWAR: Orgasmageddon #1 would be the safe-space violator in your friendly neighborhood bathroom stall.
GWAR: Orgasmageddon #1
Written by Matt Maguire & Matt Miner
Line Art by Jonathan Brandon Sawyer & Matt Maguire
Colors by Marissa Louise & Doug Garbark
Letters & Design by Taylor Esposito
Edited by Brendan Wright
Published by Dynamite Entertainment