What’s up out there comic book fans! It’s Aaron again with another comic book review. I’ll be reviewing ‘American Jesus #1’ today, and I gotta say, I’m interested. Just a quick note, this is a “Volume 2”. A similar book by the same writer and artist was previously released in 2004. This week’s book involves a controversial topic, but don’t worry; I’m going to do my best to leave religion out of this as much possible and concentrate on the story. Let’s get into the review. Ready? Go!
I’m going to get this out of the way right off the bat. ‘American Jesus’ is taking it’s own spin on the ‘Book of Revelations’. Don’t know what that is? Find a ‘King James Bible’, flip to the last book in it, and there you go. Now you don’t need to have read the Bible to enjoy this story, but it does help to give some context. The story follows the life of a teenage girl named “Luciana”, who is growing up in 1970’s New York City. Her life is going great, until she starts having dreams about an angel revealing to her; that she will be giving birth to a new “baby Jesus”. She thinks nothing of it, until one day, she starts getting morning sickness. Quick trip to the doctor and she gets the wonderful news that she is an “eight week pregnant virgin”. Sound familiar? Not too long after, her “dream angel” appears in the real world and explains to her officially, her situation and what she has to do going forward. I wont spoil anything else, but I think this might be good.
So what did I like? Well the story is great. Not something I haven’t heard or seen many times before, but it still feels fresh. I like that the writer touches on a highly contested subject, but leaves out any “requirements of belief” while telling the story. Maybe it being told in a comic book allows one to suspend their disbelief for a moment and just enjoy where the story is going. I think my favorite thing about it though; is that the story is being told “historically”. It has been setup in this issue, that our main character and “new baby Jesus” will be involved in many historical events that have happened since 1974 (see the last page of book). I don’t think I mentioned before that my major in college was History, so any story that allows someone to learn about events they never heard of, always gets me excited. What did I not like? I try to avoid saying the word “sucks” when I talk about art, but the art “sucks”. Didn’t want to say it, but had to say it. No offense to the artist in this one, but if you are going to write a comic book about “Revelations” and “Jesus”, wouldn’t you want to make it grand and over the top. The writer hasn’t done anything offensive in this book, as far as I could tell, so getting the vast majority of “Christians” to read it would probably not be such a lofty goal. But, with the art in this one, you would be hard pressed to get even the most ardent comic fans to pick it up. To put it simply, the art is just boring. I would have expected something better.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think anyone who likes a good story and to learn a little bit of history will enjoy this book. Now that being said, for some, religion comes into play, and you won’t want to read a book like this. I still recommend this book to any with an open mind, because I think this series is gonna be great. Kudos to Mark Millar for sticking his hand in a hornets nest, again, but it’s too bad the art doesn’t support the story well enough. If you’re interested in this title or any of the other titles that came out this week, please stop by your local comic shop. Support local! Peace!