Friday, 13 July 2012

Review: Punk Rock Jesus #1 - The return of the messiah?

This week saw the Messiah returned to us in a not-so-conventional manner in the first issue of Sean Murphy's new mini series, Punk Rock Jesus.
Set in the near future (well apart from the very beginning), the basic plot is as the title kind of implies, the return of Jesus Christ. A big organisation called Ophis has perfected human cloning and, using an ancient relic, has acquired the DNA of the son of God. This story follows the build up and eventual (re)birth of this child through the eyes of several complex characters, not least of them Tommy MacKael, a former IRA terrorist who now runs security.
This book was a real fight for me to get. With my mind saying "no don't get it" and my local comic shop saying "it's good, buy it", obviously the comic shop won out. That said, like they have done with other books, they have put me onto a winner once again. Punk Rock Jesus, though hard to get invested into initially, is a fantastic title. The first thing that stands out in this issue is the art, please note that I don't exaggerate when I say the art is fantastic. With a black and white style similar to Walking Dead, this feels infinitely more detailed, and so much more gritty. The story itself also impresses, with Murphy writing a story which is, fundamentally, complex and engrossing. From the in story interludes focusing on the great "Science vs. Religion" debate, to the hints of Tommy's past which may or may not imply he has a greater impact in the story than is implied going forward, to the shock twist at the end (both of them).
Fair to say, Punk Rock Jesus is a little messed up, but in a good way. What I initially thought might be a parody has turned out to be a story that has left just enough plot threads to make me want to come back. We've seen the birth, the question is, what's next?

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