Not every comic book can succinctly and entertainingly showcase the day-in, day-out prenatal goings-on of an expecting Satan and his good-guy dude-bro version of Jesus Christ lover. Hell, most comic books wouldn’t even entertain the damn fool notion! But not being most comic books, Holy F*cked #2 pulls it off nicely. In the second issue of this Action Lab Danger Zone sequel series, Holy F*cked follows not just the ongoing romance between the Lords of Hosts and Darkness, respectively, but also the newer love affair between their friend (and former nun) Maria, and her new, mysterious beau, “Thanatos.” By issue’s end, one of the world’s holiest icons has been kidnapped with sex toys, a baby shower is hosted by extras from the porn parody of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, and we are introduced to irreverent re-imaginings of erstwhile heroes from throughout the annals of Christianity. And the whole thing is just smashing!
One of the best things about this series is its characterization. They may be relatively simple, if even one-dimensional, but Jesus’ slacker-cool and Satan’s kind, but single-minded obliviousness is great when cast against each other, not to mention the antagonist’s hilariously unchecked (passive) aggression and Maria’s romantic pragmatism. This collision is perhaps best on display in the tense dinner scene, which was equal parts cringe-worthy and over-the-top hilarious.
Like the characters, the story here is simple, leading this time into an Expendables-style rescue mission, led by Maria and the so-called New Apostles. Each of these four characters (almost five, if you believe the fatwa-incurring story in the issue’s backmatter) seems to be its own fun little piss-take of a biblical figure and a storytelling trope, merged with a healthy dose of modern internet farce. On top of that, these four one-page intros in particular allow series artist Daniel Arruda Massa to stretch his legs by exploring different styles and homages that, for me, gave the story all the more bite.
Arruda Massa’s stuff in general reminds me of a cross between James Callahan (The Auteur) and Erica Henderson (something something Squirrel something), collapsing an all-ages sensibility with the asymmetry of a psychotic breakdown. My one gripe with the art in this issue is not the sometimes inconsistent proportioning of his figure work (which I feel is part of the fun in his visual style), but rather that Arruda Massa swipes his own files, copy-and-pasting around 10 panels. I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t so noticeable or prevalent, or if it was in aid of the story, but this issue it just felt gratuitous.
Saying that, I still love this art, and the way Arruda Massa and Marino are able to work together to undermine an all-ages style with sexual blasphemy (great name for their band) is particularly unique and well received. With the fate of the bastard child of cosmic order in the balance, and the story of righteous vengeance at play between perhaps history’s two most famous divine sons further unfurling, I’m looking forward to where in the bluest of hells this book is leading; and perhaps more importantly, how in the holy f*uck it’s going to get there.
Holy F*cked #2 Writer: Nick Marino Artist: Daniel Arruda Massa Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/14/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital