Speaking as a retired altar boy, I say with some authority that, despite what you may assume, church wine isn’t half bad. For you godless heathens out there, the wine I’m talking about is that which is used during the part of Roman Catholic mass called Transubstantiation: a TOTALLY comic book concept, wherein a priest magically mutates unleavened bread into living god-flesh, and the aforementioned wine into an elixir of immortality by way of a cosmic blood ceremony. It’s a bit like Galactus-meets-Dracula. So... Draculactus... which is a series I am willing to write, Marvel. Anyway, as I was getting to earlier, like a pleasant house wine at a local Italian or Portuguese eatery, holy wine, while perhaps not as toothsome as a more robust vintage, is entirely quaffable. In fact, one Irish priest I used to serve under (get your mind out of the gutter, sinner) would take advantage of the sacristy wine’s buffet nature and ask for refills mid-service, saying, and I quote, “Well, it’s free ain’t it?” Now that’s the kind of devotion I admire! But I digress: the reason I bring all of this up is because Nick Marino and Daniel Arruda Massa’s Holy F*cked is exactly like sacristy wine: easy to drink and be shared, and completely sacrilegious to consume. Just the way I like it.
In this, the last issue of this series’ sophomore volume, Holy F*cked #4 sees the boss battle we’ve all been waiting for: Hercules vs. a conveniently-placed “Hail Mary” Mech-Suit! Okay, maybe that’s not exactly the throwdown everyone was waiting for, but it is a final conflagration worthy of Revelations, ending with one of the very best moon-based crucifixions I have ever encountered. And there are like three of those in the New Testament alone.
On the other side of the narrative, and intermingled with the balls-out action that constitutes the fight between Hercules and his lover scorned, is the birthing of Satan, as he delivers he and Jesus’s lovechild unto the world, with all of the screaming, shitting and gaping vaginal shots you could ask for in a book like this! And I absolutely loved it.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a comic book creative team having such willful and wanton fun as I have in Nick Marino and Daniel Arruda Massa within the pages of Holy F*ck(ed), and I am very thankful there are folks like these gents out there giggle-jizzing all over the page. What they do so well in this series, of course, is take an innocent approach to superficially “all-ages” storytelling, and douse it in a heaping helping of very adult, super offensive fuel. And throughout it all, Holy F*cked has a goddamn blast... literally, in the case of this issue.
For his part, Marino is pithy as you like, lacing quick and clever gags in and out of the story with both reckless abandon and a fantastic sense of non sequitur timing, while Arruda Massa expresses the book’s foreground-focused frenetic verve in an unrefined yet incredible visual approach that plays well with panelling in a bright, poppy and asymmetrical cartoonish style. I especially love the little hits each creator jabs the story with this issue, be it in the amazing name for Jesus and Satan’s daughter, or the fact that Hercules was about to destroy a holy mech suit with an atomic elbow drop.
The combination of these two makes me think their end creation would be an incredible animated series, with inspiration seemingly drawn directly from classics like Ren & Stimpy, South Park and Fist of the North Star. I know of no better references to compliment this -- or any -- book. It is that unflinchingly entertaining, off-kilter beginning to fictitious origin story backmatter ending that makes this book a one-of-a-kind thing.
The one element I have shamefully been remiss in not mentioning during previous reviews is the homage covers of Holy F*cked, which in issues prior have shown reverent reference to classic X-Men, Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk covers. This issue follows suit, with a loving recreation of Daredevil #181 that is pure comic book parody gold.
As the last sup of its ingestible blast-phemy, Holy F*cked #4 is a credit to the series as a whole. Much like ill-gotten sacristy hooch, its consumption represents the simple fun of unrepentant merrymaking within an otherwise sacrosanct situation, and indeed like a fart in church, is all the more satisfying for it.
Holy F*cked #4 Writer: Nick Marino Artist: Daniel Arruda Massa Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/9/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital