by Spencer Irwin
This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Our race, sexuality, or gender are usually major parts of our personal identities, but because of the prejudiced society we live in, they can also end up as impediments in life if we’re non-white, queer, or non-cis/non-male — essentially, if we don’t meet the status quo. In Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface’s Godshaper, being a shaper has always worked as a metaphor for all these “other” identities, which makes Ennay’s reaction to an offer of a god of his own — which would free him from the stigma of being a shaper — all the more interesting.
It turns out that the (so-far) nameless woman behind the Church of Small Gods has a room where “anything’s possible,” which she uses to temporarily grant Ennay a god of his own. We’ve never seen the kind of sheer unbridled joy Ennay displays as he uses his new god’s abilities before, and his heartbreak when church-lady rips his god away is even more palpable.
Church-lady has already made it clear in no uncertain terms that Ennay has no choice but to help her, but it’s also easy to infer that he wants the reward of a god of his own as well. That brings us to some intriguing moral territory. After all, Spurrier and Goonface work overtime in Godshaper 5 to remind us of the connection between shapers and minorities, from the “crime against nature” that some consider a worshipper loving a shaper (homosexuality/gay marriage) to a lynching tree a shaper is hung from; is Ennay’s desire for a god of his own a rejection of his identity and the others who would still be struggling through the same discrimination?
This question is compounded by what we already know about Ennay’s past. He’s been used and misled by other shapers in the past and thus greets new ones with suspicion, and while his cantik performances (reminiscent of drag or burlesque) seem to be attempting to create a supportive, inclusive counterculture, he can still only sing to worshippers who, even here on the fringes of society, harbor deep hatred and prejudice for shapers. After the attack he experienced at the end of last month’s issue, I can’t imagine he harbors many hopes for reconciliation between worshippers and shapers.
Just for the record, in no way should Ennay have to give up an essential piece of his identity to be treated with dignity and respect. In a perfect world discrimination would be eradicated, and I like to think that, at least in real life, we’re fighting harder and harder every day to make that happen, even as more and more bigots seem to be crawling out of the woodwork. But I can’t blame Ennay if he doesn’t have the patience to wait for things to get better. This offer to Ennay is only a small part of this issue, but I imagine it’s going to hang over the upcoming proceedings in a major way. After all, in real life we don’t have a magic choice that can help us shed parts of our identity, but Ennay does, and that option is going to add a lot of nuance to all his upcoming decisions, and shine a new light on the way Ennay views his own role as a shaper and the way he fits into the world around him.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?