Sunday, October 04, 2009

Loaded Bible Book 1 – review

Writer: Tim Seeley

Artists: Mark Englert, Mike Norton, Nate Bellegarde, Ben Glendenning & Christopher Johnson

First Published: 2008

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Jesus Christ. Son of God. Icon. Saviour.

Vampire Slayer.

In the near future, Nuclear War plunges America into perpetual night. But night is the domain of the bloodsucking vampire, and the surviving humans face an undead army. Now a ravaged country overrun with vampires must turn to its new saviour, Jesus Christ!

An action packed sacrilegious satire, Loaded Bible definitively answers the age old question:

What Would Jesus Do?

He’s kick vampire ass.

The review: The idea of tying the Christian tradition into the vampire genre is nothing new. Judas was deemed the first vampire in Dracula 2001 and J G Eccarius had Jesus as a vampire in “The Last Days of Christ the Vampire” (as an aside that was a novel that then spawned a short lived comic run).

As you can tell from the blurb, in this Jesus is the vampire hunter, again nothing new as we already have the film Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter. However there was definitely room for more and this does take an interesting premise that satirises the right wing religious organisations.

This New, New Testament begins with Islamic terrorism and then postulates the rise in overt extremist Christianity as an answer to that. When the world discovers the truth of vampires this pushes said extremist Christianity more and more into the fore of life. Eventually the world plunges into nuclear war.

The church builds a new domed city – New Vatican City – and then the saviour comes back. Jesus Christ, hunting vampires – we even see him use his holy spit to kill a lesser vampire at the head of the volume. However, as I said, this is a satire. Not so much of the Christian faith but of organised religion and unrealistic religious dogma. As such we meet (amongst the pureblood vampires, as vampires are split into classes) Lilith – the mother of all vampires – who is an ape, neatly underlining Darwinism and later we see she is unaffected by the cross as she comes from before man’s faith in God.

There are folks dwelling outside of New Vatican City and Jesus begins to have doubts when he kills one of them thinking she was a vampire. A pureblood called Centuria allows herself to be captured to contact Jesus and shows him the truth – the woman he killed and the rest of her settlement were being attacked, not by vampires as he thought, but by the church as they were heathens, part of the rebellious The New Dawn, an organisation that resists church rule. More disturbing to him is the truth that he is a clone made from DNA found in relics, given false memories of childhood and destined to be martyred. Once that occurs they have an army of (non-individualised) Jesus clones to wage war on the vampires.

Disturbed he leaves new Vatican City and when Centuria manages to get the security footage of their conversation broadcasted, the church aim to quell the resultant riots and regain order by releasing vampires, captured for experimentation, upon their own people and then releasing the holy army of clones…

Story wise this was great, with plenty of betrayal, character development and crisis of faith on all sides, though Christians of a more sensitive nature might be offended by some of the concepts, scratching that little deeper reveals that Seeley is reserving his ire for organised and extremist religion. The action works well, however the more narrative areas can get just a tad clunky – something probably due to finding their feet. However, even though it is occasionally clunky now, I can see this going from strength to strength as it develops. The artwork is very much of a cartoon-like level, so whilst there is a lot of blood in places it isn’t particularly that gory as there isn't an overt level of realism. All in all, worth a read. 6 out of 10 and a great starting position. Let’s see if they can develop it to its full potential in future volumes.


Zahir Blue said...

This sounds like fun. I wonder if Buddha, Mohommed or Joseph Smith are out there somewhere as well?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Brandon Grahame makes a comment at the head of the comic that he now awaits someone drawing Buddha locked in mortal combat with a chupacabra!