One of the best parts of working with Comic Bastards is that I get an opportunity to review some pretty freaky and cutting edge independent offerings out there that might not be quite ready for the mainstream. I delight in these types of comics as they are the epitome of what free speech and expression are all about. Even if the subject matter of said comics might not quite gel with what people call the “norm”. It is through the indy comic genre where some things can be viewed in a different light and from a different angle. I applaud those creators who are out there on the frontlines of the fringe, taking chances and throwing caution to the wind. They are my heroes. Now of those types of comics, many of the unconventional ones might not exactly be that good. Some of them even kind of suck. But when I do come across one of those that not only doesn’t suck, it actually breaks new and powerful ground. Well then, I get quite excited and worked up about it. And when I find an indy comic that not only rocks it, but it continues to rock it with each released issue, that is something to really get excited about.
Rejoice my brothers and sisters, for I found such a comic. Actually, I found it a little while back. But a third issue has been released and it doesn’t suck at all. In fact, it is really quite great, paying tribute to those ghoulish stories of yore while cutting a new path into shock gruesome and awesome action territory. Escape from Jesus Island, Act I, Episode III is such a comic.
When we last left writer Shawn French and artist Mortimer Glum’s ode to Messianic DNA, dark science, and literal mutant inbred biblical freaks, we found a crack team of Vatican black ops tasked with linking to the Regen Corporation’s cloning facility on Malsum Island with one objective. Get the cloned Son of the Living God that has been successfully cloned and get him back to the Vatican to give a chance of saving a dying pope’s life. Sounds simple enough.
The only problem is that when Jesus was successfully cloned, a twin was likewise created that might not quite have the Pope’s plan of saving in mind. He has a different view regarding humans and their ways. And in his salvation, it requires quite a bit more suffering and pain than most followers would want I would say.
Anyway, the crack team made to the island last issue, but things didn’t quite go the way they wanted. Now, they are in a fight to finish their mission and stay alive as the Antichrist Yeshua is aware of their presence. The hunt is on. And it ain’t pretty.
Saying that this issue is “white knuckled”, really doesn’t give the story the credit for what it is. This issue is actually what I would call “bloody knuckled” as in the liberal amount of blood, brains, entrails, and about every other gross internal body part you could think of laid out in full on color. And it bloody disgusting….Way bloody disgusting…And, it is bloody awesome too.
I love the action of this issue as we see the Vatican’s team, aided by their strongman and overall crusader bad ass Oleg “Barracuda” Arlovski taking on Yeshua and his mutated minions. The battles are fierce and intense and the outcomes….Well, I will just say that for the first time in the series, we get a glimpse of some of the power that Yeshua is bringing. And it is dag nasty.
Writer Shawn French has really captured something special with this issue and the series at large. He has created something that is repulsive and entertaining as hell at the same time. That is no easy feat. But in the way that he writes the story, we have a healthy balancing act of humor and horror that works magnificently. It is something in the vein of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise, of which I am a huge fan. Escape from Jesus Island is a perfect mixture of fun and fright. I give French huge props for bringing it as you can tell he is having an absolute blast in writing every single slithery line.
As for Mortimer Glum on the art. “Underrated” is the word that I give. Where in the hell has this guy been? I don’t know if demons dream or not. But if they do, I am pretty certain that their nightmares would be Glum’s imagery. It is unbelievably detailed, creepy, crawly, and cool. I am never short of amazed at what I see. I give credit to not only Glums art, but his flow of coloring is top shelf as well, making the blood splatters particularly gooey with head smashing ferocity.
Is this comic controversial? Oh sure. Is it for everyone? No freaking way. Is it for you? I don’t know. But I do know that this little indy might be one of the most entertaining reads you will have should you decide to take a shot of courage, refuse to pander to the haters, and read this deliciously devilish opus.