Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"You... have my gratitude, beast thing."
"Is that so? Have you suddenly experienced some profound new revelation?"
"Maybe I have. Now... look in my eyes. Tell me... what do you see?"
"Ghuh! Well played. Perhaps you are the blessed one."
If you ever found yourself in a troubling situation pondering the classic moral imperative "What would Jesus do?" it's probably fair to say, it would not be what Joe Casey and Benjamin Marra have the mild-mannered, cheek-turning, betrayal-forgiving, enemy-loving peacenik proto-hippy doing.
For their righteous Jesus is more son of a gun than Son of God. I mean, he's that as well, kind of, it's just he's more of a New Testament sword of justice kinda guy. With added kung fu. And he really does have a sword and he's not afraid to use it.
Because... well why not? He's the ass-kicking, face-punching, head-lopping action hero saviour the masses need. Apparently!
Here is the sermon from the publishers to tell you about the righteous damnation this bad-ass bible basher is going to rain down on your heads if you don't all start behaving yourself. But first, can I get a hallelujah? No? How about a punch in the face then? Done!
"The year is 26 C.E. A young Nazarean carpenter is having some trouble adjusting to the violent world around him-and finding his place within it. He knows he's different, but he doesn't know why. Not yet, anyway. A bloody, two-fisted tale of historical heroic fiction brought to you by Joe SEX, BUTCHER BAKER / THE RIGHTEOUS MAKER / MCMLXXV Casey and Benjamin NIGHT BUSINESS / TERROR ASSAULTER / O.M.W.O.T. Marra."
Fans of classic hack slash material such as Roy Thomas' SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN (and by the way, Jason Aaron's new CONAN and Gerry Dugan's SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN are both really excellent, capturing the flavour of the original material perfectly) and the '70s era THE HANDS OF SHANG CHAI: MASTER OF KUNG FU will absolutely love this. It's as pulpy as a battered bad guy's head after some serious beat down action.
It does try to do a little more than viscerally entertain, through senselessly sensual violence, sure, hey this is Jesus after all, but I won't spoil where they take the character because Jesus's voyage of self-discover here is half the farcical fun.
Art-wise, Casey has picked a perfect foil in the form of Marra, who's scathing, satirical ONE MAN WAR ON TERROR material figuratively and literally takes no prisoners itself, and here once more he unleashes his trademark relentless graphic brutality upon our sensibilities almost daring us to blaspheme against his character's credo of cruel justice. Tough love baby, that's what the Jesusfreak is dispensing. Take it or leave it.
On that point, I can't see many committed Christians enjoying this, but if you've half a sense of humour and enjoy seeing the desecration of one of the most pious dudes ever to walk the earth purely for your reading pleasure, dispensing proverbial psalms of pain, then this is sequential art soul food just for you.
And errr... me... Amen.