Thursday, January 3, 2013

Punk Rock Jesus #6

by Sean Murphy

Punk Rock Jesus has to be one of the best series Vertigo has published in years.  Unlike many of their other recent projects, this title best exemplifies what Vertigo was designed for - delivering intelligent, thought-provoking stories that didn't shy away from material that may make some people uncomfortable.

With Punk Rock Jesus, Sean Murphy has created a science fiction epic that examines the role of Christianity in our modern, science-fuelled culture.  It also touches on issues as diverse as the Irish Troubles, and environmental collapse.  This issue runs thirty-two pages, without ads (still for only $2.99!), and wraps up the story wonderfully.

We open with Thomas McKael's arrest for his involvement in an IRA bombing of a police station, which reveals some information about his childhood that we didn't know.  From there, we rejoin Chris, the supposed clone of Jesus Christ, and his band, the Flak Jackets, as they travel to perform in Jerusalem.  As expected, this doesn't go well, and they are attacked by terrorists almost immediately.

In the wake of this violence, many questions are asked back in America, and Rick Slate, the producer of J2, the reality show based on Chris's life, has a lot of questions to answer.  Later, the New American Christians attack a television studio in an attempt to kill Chris.

I have been completely blown away by the quality of Murphy's writing for this series.  I already knew he was a phenomenal artist, but the depth of the story he told in this series, both in terms of the questions in raises, and in the way in which he wrote these memorable characters, has impressed me.  I wish that Vertigo, or any company really, was able to produce books this good more often.  Very highly recommended.

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