This time, in Holy F*cked, skateboarding hipster Jesus remains in captivity at the behest of Hercules, who plans to kill the Lord of Hosts with a heady cocktail of his two known biblical weaknesses: strap on dildos and dynamite sticks! Luckily for our savior, The New Apostles -- souped up versions of Moses, Mother Theresa, The Holy Spirit and a Pope -- are on the case. Unluckily, Hercules dismantles each of them with relative ease, one-by-one burning their flesh from their bones, ripping them in twain or simply snorting up their sacred essences and farting them out. And as ridiculous as it gets, as puerile and silly, it’s never not fun. The strength of this series, of course, has and continues to be that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Writer Nick Marino and artist Daniel Arruda Massa riff on each other in a way not dissimilar to our own Comic Bastards co-captains, Dustin Cabeal and Kevin Beckham, and as such it’s just as organically entertaining. It feels like two friends sitting around at Sunday school, coming up with the most ludicrous shit they can before hastily committing it to paper. And whether it’s the pages-upon-pages of ridiculous battle between the out-gunned Apostles and the nip-tacular Hercules, or the Silver Surfer-meets-Space Jam origin story of Cosmic Moses (the one-shot spinoff story of which I now want to read), it’s always a good time.
Despite resounding with the giddy sacrilegious fun of a fart in church, however, this is not a book free from sin. The story often demands a liberal suspension of disbelief and poetic license in terms of pacing and basic structure. There is no break, for example, between when The New Apostles take off in search of Jesus and when they find his Herc-jacked car. They just arrive. It also relies on the lowest common denominator of humor and storytelling, with the most sophomoric of dick/fart jokes and only a whisper of thoughtful plotting.
The sub-plot of Satan’s impending labor, for instance, is mostly an afterthought here, whereas it might have been played up to greater consequence or a more cliffhanging ending in this, the series’ penultimate issue. Then again, that would mean we got less of the beatific beatdown that takes up the bulk of the issue. Indeed, much like religion, making ridiculous comics about fighting figureheads of faith clearly requires sacrifice.
Arruda Massa’s art, as I’ve said before in earlier reviews, reminds me of a parsed-down James Callahan (The Auteur), with a similar sensibility of not giving two fucks about consistency of perspective, mostly to humorous effect. And while I enjoy how comically quaffable the art of Holy F*cked #3 is, and am glad to see a decrease in panel repetition from last issue, there are a few times where it could benefit from a more focused depth and further attention to background work.
One of the things that makes the aforementioned Callahan’s work in The Auteur so impressive is that he allows himself to get serious sometimes and goes into great detail, making his looser panels stand out with purpose. And while I know they are two separate books, I feel like Holy F*cked would benefit from a similar aesthetic approach. Still, for pure late-night, drug-addled, over-exaggerated fun, with an energetic, pop-art approach to its honestly impressive mosaic panelling, it’s hard not to find this artistic direction endearing as hell, and despite the comparisons I’ve made above, a unique beast in its own right.
As with all of the issues previous, I really enjoyed Holy F*cked #3. It may not change many hearts and minds (though it will almost undoubtedly offend them), but it continues to be a hugely entertaining series that lifts a solid, steady middle finger to both traditions and polite sensibilities. And I, for one, respect that.
Holy F*cked #3 Writer: Nick Marino Artist: Daniel Arruda Massa Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/13/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital