Fight Girls

The Goggler Pull List #27: Fight Girls and Ordinary Gods

Dept. of Comic Book Compulsions

On this week’s edition of The Goggler Pull List, we review and recommend Frank Cho’s Fight Girls and Kyle Higgins’ Ordinary Gods.

Check it out…

Fight Girls (Frank Cho)

Fight Girls

Frank Cho’s Fight Girls starts off in a very Wonder Woman-Amazonian-esque way. The current reigning Queen, who is found to be barren and thus unable to bear a royal heir, is forced to vacate her throne and an ancient contest of wits, wills, and physical abilities is invoked to find the new ruler. Ten women are selected to take part and the winner will become the new Queen of Gilmora.

We are then immediately thrust into the first challenge, all of which is being broadcast in the most epic survival-of-the-fittest-fight-to-the-death version of The Amazing Race. In the first two issues, the ten participants have to survive a wild jungle, set with vicious animals and even more vicious dinosaurs, and a dessert with its gigantic crab and turtle like monsters. The ten participants don’t stay ten for very long.

Fight Girls

The story is told almost purely from the point of view of the production of this reality broadcast, with a kind of narrative voiceover from the directors and commentators clearly heard throughout. We also hear from the participants, these ten women vying for the throne in this life or death adventure they have found themselves in.

“Watching” the broadcast also adds a layer of meta-commentary to the situation; yes, these women are here competing for the chance of a lifetime (what’s a million dollars when your trying to win the ultimate seat of power), but they are also beautiful women in skimpy athletic wear being made to “perform” for an adoring audience. Does competing for the actual Queendom negate the fact that these women are here for the viewers? Maybe, but the performative nature of these challenges still make it a little dirty and crass.

Fight Girls

It’s probably easy to put this down to the male gaze of the author and artist (Frank Cho is both), but I propose a different take. Fight Girls has a secondary storyline in which a mysterious investigator is looking into the history of one of the participants who may or may not be who she says she is, all while he is being shadowed by a pair of no-goodniks who are threatening to do him in for his investigations.

So while there is something alluringly simple about the way Frank Cho frames his series, there is also still more to this coming than meets the eye.

It may sound like I am being a Frank Cho apologist. Maybe all he really wanted to do was draw lithe, strong women in volleyball attire running around and fighting each other. But I think that’s the point. That these women, despite fighting and competing for the highest position in the land of Gilmora, are actually performing for the male gaze on the reality show.

Fight Girls

Needless to say, Frank Cho has suitably piqued my interest and gotten me fully on board. There are four challenges in the story, and five issues of the comic. We’re two issues and challenges in and I am completely hooked.

Also, Frank Cho really does draw monsters and dinosaurs incredibly well.

Ordinary Gods (Kyle Higgins and Felipe Watanabe)

Ordinary Gods

I’m not going to lie. I’m an absolute sucker for stories like this one. The Old Guard. BRZRKR. The Highlander. Heck, I was even partially invested in that awful Mark Wahlberg movie, Infinite. I just love the idea of immortal souls, locked in an eternal battle, over multiple lifetimes, across the ages, for now and forever. Maybe it’s because of my Hindu upbringing – you know, karma, reincarnation, and all that jazz. Or maybe I just enjoy Sisyphean tragedy a little too much.

In Ordinary Gods, Kyle Higgins takes that age old tale of immortal gods, caught in a vicious cycle of death and rebirth that stretches across human history, and pushes it beyond what we’ve already seen in the titles I just mentioned. He throws in a little Jack Kirby, he infuses it with a little Edgar Rice Burroughs, and elevates this story into the meta and the philosophical, making it as much a study on being “chosen” as it is an out and out action adventure.

Ordinary Gods

There is a really fun back and forth here as the comic cuts between the story of our present day protagonist, Christopher, and the history of the never-ending conflict of these five warring gods – The Luminary, The Prodigy, The Brute, The Trickster, and The Innovator. There is a real sincerity to the way this story is told. And it’s through this quality of prose that Higgins finds a balance between fantastical science fiction and the everyday reality of our existence. The story of Christopher’s family life, his struggles with depression, his efforts to connect with and protect his little sister, runs in stark contrast to the epic and operatic nature of the comic’s backstory, but all of it is masterfully woven together in a way that maintains mystery and keeps you intrigued.

The world building is terrific (a world that’s broken up into lands based on personality traits is just a narrative goldmine). The design of the characters (with the occasional mythological flourish) is compelling. And the writing really keeps things moving at a wonderful pace.

Ordinary Gods

Felipe Watanabe’s art just works for every circumstance. Whether its two people sitting and talking in a therapist’s office, or a Yakuza style hit in a Japanese restaurant, or a Homeric clash between statuesque gods, his lines manage to capture exactly what is needed for any given moment. Every one of his faces is a showcase of emotion, and thought, and desire. Be it a ragey scowl or a gentle rolling of the eyes, he shows us what every character is feeling at all times.

Ordinary Gods

Ordinary Gods works because it builds on everything that has come before. Higgins doesn’t pretend that Highlander doesn’t exists. He doesn’t ignore The Old Guard. He leans into it, develops those science fiction and fantasy themes and concepts, and delivers a story that still feels fresh and unique. There is also a vibrancy and energy to the storytelling that makes it an absolute pleasure to read. I highly recommend checking it out.

We get our comics either from our local comic book store, The Last Comic Shop, or on Comixology. Are you interested in checking out Fight Girls and Ordinary Gods? Have you already read these comics? Let us know by getting in touch with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Check out our previous installments of The Goggler Pull List here.

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