'Goliath' by Tom Gauld
Published on Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 1:45pm
There is something wholly upsetting about hearing the villain's side of the story. I learned recently that the Joker from the Batman comics was driven to madness by an event in his life that was so jolting -- so shattering that he genuinely forgot what the event was. Even the great and terrible Magneto is, at his core, simply trying to prevent more atrocities like the ones he experienced as a youth during the Holocaust.
In Goliath, Tom Gauld's first full-length graphic novel, the images and sparse dialogue humanize the Biblical Goliath with clever subtlety. Goliath is not a villain; he is a tool of an army. He's not particularly interested in fighting or exploiting his large stature. He's a paper pusher.
But Gauld doesn't simply show Goliath as a tool of an army. That'd be far too easy. Gauld draws several modern-day parallels. Not only is Goliath personally uninterested in the war, he is poorly equipped, accompanied by seemingly expendable young soldiers, fighting an enemy he doesn't truly understand and is ultimately killed by someone he didn't perceive as a threat.
Ultimately, David kills Goliath. David is not, however, spun into the villain of this story. He, like Goliath, is simply a tool of an army. David is likely not particularly interested in war, poorly equipped with only a sling, expendable, and fighting an enemy he does not understand.