What makes a cutting edge comic cutting edge? Is it one that builds controversy? Is it one that takes risks? How about writing about things that kind of make people's skin crawl a little? Maybe it's the artwork? Is the art so offensive and in your face that it makes you feel kind of dirty just for viewing it? It is really hard to say what makes a cutting edge comic cutting edge. But in reference to Escape from Jesus Island Act I, Episode 2...I would say that it clearly meets the criteria...And, it has all of the above listed as to reasons why it is cutting edge. But the one thing about this second installment is that it is not only cutting edge. It is some of the most intensely (and insanely) entertaining story and artwork available in all of comics, not just the indies. It is definitely one that you should be taking notice of like right now. Writer Shawn French and artist Mortimer Glum have created something uniquely original, ballsy, and yes, entertaining as anything I have been reading in recent months.
How to describe it? Take a little bit of Jurassic Park, a little bit of the movie Freaks, and a little bit of the Book of Revelation. Mix it together and add a little bit of Dan Brown with just a pinch of Tales from Crypt. If you do that, it still doesn't quite explain it, but it at least gets you in the vein of what is being done. It is complex. It is intriguing. And underneath all the things that make religious pundits angry, it is a heartfelt tale of mankind and its (our) never ending hubris to be like God, which renders itself even from the opening passages of the Book of Genesis. It's what we do.
French's writing continues to impress as this issue brings a little bit of back story as to what the powerful cloning giant ReGen was up to when they began working on a massive cloning program and a massive archeology dig in the Middle East. There may indeed be a method to their mayhem. It might have even started with some good intentions. But, something happened and we now are where we are. And where we are is bad. If you don't believe me, read through it yourself and tell me if you don't feel some sadness for the "testing clones". Theirs' is a story of sadness and suffering done in the name of science, profit, and dare I say just plain old meaness.
As with French's writing, the same rings true for Glum's art. It is impressive and it is absolutely horrific. But I say that as a true compliment. He draws the evil as evil, the humans on both sides of this tale with a degree of unpredictability themselves. And he draws the "testing clones" as wasted, pitiful creatures that making note of the fact that Malsum Island (the place where all the magic happens) is a bad place. There are some real bad things going on and getting Jesus off the island is going to involve a whole lot of effort. Take heed crack Vatican hit squad. You guys have got a whole lot to deal with if your mission is to be a success.
The nice thing about everything of this title is that we have a front row seat to the carnage that awaits. It's looking to be one hellaciously good ride. Top to bottom, Escape from Jesus Island rocks. And it should be a mission of you fellow reader to hunt this independent gem down. You will be very glad that you did.
Writer: Shawn French Artist: Mortimer Glum Publisher: Wisdumb Productions Price: $3.99 Website