One of my favorite superhero stories is Alan Moore’s take on Miracleman, where he deconstructed the idea of the superhero as a god, and took it in a new direction. By making them into gods, he made them human, and he took that idea and used it when he revamped the Swamp Thing and the entire superhero mythology with Watchmen. Since then, more mature comics look back at these ideas and try to incorporate them into their stories, but so far, no one has done it better than Alan Moore himself.
A God Somewhere is a different look on this sort of idea, working in reverse order. Here, we see a normal human being suddenly granted with stupendous powers, and the story takes us through the kind of psychological development that goes along with such a thing. Where Alan Moore handled the idea with grace and a touch of humanity, this one seems to be a bit heavy-handed, and removes many traces of humanity from the story. Think of that issue of Miracleman where Kid Miracleman comes back, and wreaks devastation on the world because he can. Welcome to A God Somewhere.
To be fair, the story isn’t bad, but it seems to attempt ideas grander than what a single graphic novel can contain. Where Moore had several issues with which to cover the subtle complexities of his characters, Arcudi has one single novel, and it covers a long span of time. A lot of it is glossed over, and there’s a significant change in tone as the character goes from helpful and caring to brutal and sociopathic. The change makes sense (it’s just another look at the “What happens when someone becomes a god?” motif), but it’s handled without subtlety, and the story suffers because of it.
Despite all this, I still think it’s a story worth reading. It’s not as good as the sort of thing that Alan Moore created back in his heyday, but it still tackles some intriguing topics, and has a good theme. Just be aware that the word “graphic” has never been more appropriate in the term “graphic novel” as it is with A God Somewhere. This story is not for the squeamish.