What happens when you put artist Sergio Aragonés and writer Mark Evanier together, then toss in some letters by Stan Sakai, and colour it with some Tom Luth? What you get is the longest running creative team around, and probably another wandering tale of Groo. In today’s case, it’s Groo: Fray of the Gods.
Fray of the Gods was originally announced by Dark Horse as a 12 issue limited series, with the first issue being advertised as such, and the preorders for the TPB collection of the first four issues being advertised as Volume 1. Somewhere the plan changed slightly, and the story concluded with issue #4.
The Comixology description of issue #4 starts:
“It’s the last issue of a four-issue Groo miniseries, and we all know what that leads to: the first issue (coming soon) of the next four-issue Groo miniseries. In this epic conclusion (not to be confused with the next epic conclusion or others that follow)[…]”
So here we sit reading my ramblings, and waiting for the scheduled July release of issue #1 of Groo: Play of the Gods. But until then (actually longer, because I usually just pick up the collections), let’s talk some more about Fray of the Gods.
The story starts, as it often does, with Groo searching for food and frays. He finds himself in a land where the women and children are forced to toil in the fields, while the men are off building a giant monument to their new king-turned-god.
Meanwhile, high above in the Realm of the Gods, the newly minted Star God is welcomed by the non-denominational pantheon of other gods with something less than open arms.
The remaining three issues in the collection follow similarly, with Groo doing what Groo does best in the mortal realm, and Star God interacting with various deities in the Realm of the Gods.
Fray of the Gods is somewhat unique among Groo tales: it has the same comedy (and much of the same formula) as most things Groo but, with the side story of the Gods, it is able to give slightly deeper philosophical and theological commentary than most Groo stories. That’s not to say that such commentary isn’t often present, but this time it’s just a little more prominent.
Because Groo is very much a formula after 30 years, it only gets 4 out of 5 for me, BUT because it’s Groo, and after 30 years I still love the formula, I don’t know I could ever give it LESS than 4 out of 5.