You look at life in the grand scheme of things, floating amidst a countless number of stars and planets. Organisms on a micro and macro scale who have evolved to survive, thrive or even dominate their habitable slices of space. It’s all kind of pointless, isn’t it? Life simply is, a fluke of interstellar events that created our species.
We’re all alive, all doing whatever it is that we do until the end finally comes. That’ll be it. Your name might live on for a few generations, but sooner or later you will be forgotten in an unforgiving universe. As a species, we really really don’t like being confronted with that idea. Humanity hates the concept of not being special, of being the center of existence because the alternative is kind of depressing.
I don’t think so. I think that while ignorance can indeed be bliss, the truth can also set you free. A truth that lies at the heart of Top Cow’s Golgotha. Hitting Kickstarter back in April, Golgotha tells the story of mankind’s search for a new home amidst the stars as disgraced soldier Michael Lawton finds himself exiled from Earth thanks to a botched Malaysian mission in the waning years of the 21st Century.
Humanity is looking to establish itself as a space-faring race, and Lawton has two choices: Either rot away in a military jail for his crimes or grab a one-way ticket for an 80-year journey in cryostasis as the new security chief for mankind’s next big step. Things predictably go pear-shaped of course, as Lawton and xenobiologist Jennifer Carpenter awaken to find an established colony awaiting them from a mission that left Earth after them.
Also, there’s a splinter-colony out on the fringes, a strangely perfect cube which has the potential to evolve humanity for the better and a conspiracy to use Lawton as an expendable tool to cover up an inconvenient truth. As the focus of the story, Lawton is a man who understands the futility of life. Of being nothing more than a gene-donor for the next collection of organs ahead of him and aware that his skills and attitude belong to a more brutal age.
Golgotha could have easily been a nihilistic tale of humanity finding a new home among the stars and realising our insignificance, but the story penned by writers Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins actually paints a more optimistic picture of the future. Realising that you’re not special shouldn’t have you reaching for the nearest My Chemical Romance, Radiohead and Bon Iver mixtape, but it can be a humbling experience that propels your own personal growth.
It’s an idea that’s subtly demonstrated by small moments of religion captured by the clean art of Yuki Saeki and the colours of Bryan Falenza within that script, that captures how humanity too often relies on its belief systems to justify heinous acts of faith in contrast to other spiritual ideas which embrace a more flexible frame of thinking.
Saeki’s art captures these ideas perfectly, adapting easily from future warzones to the far-flung reaches of our cosmos as Lawton’s journey takes him far away from home. Extra kudos to Falenza’s use of colour, which punches up the saturation for moments that truly do capture more breath-taking vistas and gritty guerrilla warfare.
Golgotha is a wake-up call punctuated by a fascinating collection of grounded science and action amidst existentialist questions and our understanding of our place in the universe, delivered in a package that never talks down to its reader.
Last Updated: October 31, 2017