Guest Review: Golgotha #1

Guest Writer: Stonie Williams

– This review was brought to you by the gift of a review copy, the letters QWERTY and rolling natural 20s.

Writer- Matt Hawkins
Artist- Yuki Saeki
Colorist – Bryan Valenza
Letterer – Troy Peteri

The only survivor of a military operation gone wrong, Captain Michael Lawton has to make a choice. Military prison or Golgotha. Golgotha is the name of a ship headed to a mining expedition and colonization on another planet. Lawton decides to fake his death and enter cryosleep for the 80 years it will take to reach this new planet, Achilles. His superiors will supply his family with money and Lawton will dodge military prison. Everyone he knows and love will be dead when he wakes up.

Cover of Golgotha #1

Cover of Golgotha #1 © Top Cow

Lawton wakes up to a surprise. A year after his departure the technology for interstellar travel takes a jump and Achilles colonized long before Lawton gets there. He arrives at a full, established colony and it’s leader – his grandson. This new colony has no need for soldiers like Michael… until an explosion shakes things up, literally and figuratively. It exposes another story to this colony that Michael’s grandson failed to mention.

Golgotha is a remarkable sci-fi that feels grounded in the real world. That’s one of the many things I’ve always loved about Matt Hawkins’ writing. It’s very rarely so far-fetched that it takes much suspension of belief to enjoy. Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins styles blend well and compliment each other. I have less experience with Mr. Hill’s work, but his Romulus series has been getting high praise from everyone I know who’s read it. Having read so much of Mr. Hawkins’ work you can see spots where Bryan Hill’s voice shines through elevates the work as a whole. Yuki Saeki’s artwork is nothing short of fabulous, toeing that line on Americanized anime. Her artwork brings an expression and drama to every scene that reminds me of Metal Gear Solid. She does this all without making it feel, for lack of a better term, “too anime” and alienating fans of more American comic book art style.

The art fits the style of the writing, making this an easy read with a clear narrative. The story as a whole brings to mind a combination of the first Alien movie and parts of the tv show Ascension. As such, it’s very easy to envision this comic as a live action movie. The ‘fiction’ part of the ‘sci-fi’ is a wonderful twist that I won’t ruin here, but again would be awesome to see on the big screen.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was getting inside the head of this soldier. Seeing not only what he has to deal with mentally, but how he deals with it. It’s interesting to see the different conditions where he thrives and where he stumbles.

As always with Matt Hawkins’ books, in the back is his Science Class. Matt goes into the science behind his books, where he gets the ideas and jargon that makes these book plausible. I always have a blast learning about this stuff and diving down the rabbit hole of links he provides. Seeing how he envisions this science and tech possibly affecting the future is fascinating to me. In the majority of his books there’s this theme of this meaningless entropy and somehow this hope for humanity in spite of it all. His work and visions of potential futures can depress you and fill you with optimism all at the same time. It can be like a slap in the face with harsh reality immediately followed by a reassuring pat on the back, letting it you know it’s not all bad!

Golgotha is definitely worth the read and is a must for any fan of pure sci-fi. Fans of Aliens, Pitch Black, Ascension, Expanse, and Dark Matter, should pick this book up. Golgotha shares elements from all of these stories. Be sure to check out Matt Hawkins’ other work, Postal, Think Tank, The Tithe, Samaritan, and Symmetry as well as his upcoming Stairway. Bryan Hill took over Postal from Matt, which is now being turned into a Hulu original show. Be sure to pick up Hill’s Romulus, also from Top Cow comics. Until next time, happy reading!

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