Goro (#1 – 5) – Sarah Horrocks

3 out of 5

An ensemble drama of family members and exes all at odds over who should inherit daddy’s business – daddy is in a coma, and put a son-in-law in charge – Sarah Horrocks’ Goro combines the artist’s penchant for wildly expressive and stylized characters with a more direct and grabbing narrative that was lacking from the more experimental The Leopard.  The general vibe and spread of characters is perhaps similar to that book – there’s a dip into surreal violence in issue 3 which is, at that point, completely removed from the story, featuring an incensed, poetry-spouting assassin (or two?) and loses a grip on reality as it goes along – but Goro gives us a bit more of a grace period for learning names and faces, allowing us to get in to the mixed up family around which the plot swirls.  I’m still not really sold on the hand lettering; although the kerning is more consistent (than in Leopard), the printing quality drops letters here and there and Sarah’s use of bolding doesn’t really sync well with the way the sentences make sense to be stressed.  However, the art, with a more sporadic use of computer fiddling on backgrounds and tones, is very grabbing, and given several issues in a row to read, very immersive; Sarah’s constantly using space on the page to effect timing, and the way focus is used to circle around characters, then reigned in by paneling, helps to give the story a controlled chaos vibe.

For all of its freneticness, though, Goro is something of a slow burn.  It’s unclear if it’s intended to be about something, or just about this family, and after some interesting ‘what’s this about?’ hints in the first couple of issues, it drops back and becomes a tad disassembled.