Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Punk Rock Jesus #1 Review

By Zak Edwards
July 20, 2012 - 21:36

I understand that society in general has been having a love affair with people converting to atheism and declaring it by basically screaming about how logical and reasonable this is and thus how illogical and unreasonable any religious person is.  I also understand that, in general, the chosen religion to stand in for this, lest some crazy atheist fundamentalist be accused of racism, Christianity has become the biggest target for religious punching bag.  I get this, and I'm not declaring myself religious or not; I'm just declaring myself annoyed that, for some reason, people like Richard Dawkins are not called out for being just as preachy as any Christian right guy arguing against the moral degradation of society based on, I don't know, any hot topic really.

The thing is, Jesus always seemed a little bit more punk than hippy to me and more reactionary than people give him credit for.  Sure, we like to depict Jesus as walking around in white robes and long hair spouting phrases that sound like they came from the summer of love, but he was also a guy who spoke to the dejected masses, fought against those that needed fought against, and got genuinely pissed off at things.  He identified with the working class and generally told off the upper class at any point, and they hated him for it.  So Jesus as a punk rock star or whatever sounds interesting, like it may be something more than a soapbox from which Sean Murphy can declare his most glorious conversion to declaring the flying spaghetti monster as his one true Lord and Saviour.  Instead, we get a beautifully illustrated attack on the usual suspects all acting like cartoons.  And Jesus isn’t even a punk yet, he’s a baby with a twin sister!  Murphy paints the religious types as angry idiots, the corporation as unfeeling, giant machines, and the people who get compromised by men in dark rooms smoking cigarettes are rarely seen but certainly heard and blah blah, blah blah, blahdy blah.

Sometimes artists don’t make the best writers and sometimes writers don’t make the best artists (David Finch’s stories in The Dark Knight are regularly criticized and even Alex Ross’ work in writing has been nothing to write home about) and I think Punk Rock Jesus is an example of this.  Murphy too seems to have a grasp of storytelling but, for all his wonderful illustrations of pretty cool looking characters, they don’t sound like anything I haven’t heard before and certainly don't escape sounding like flat, unreasonable depictions of the worst any group (except most glorious atheists!) have to offer.  It's like thinking Westboro Baptists are every Christian on the planet.  The protagonist of the story looks and acts like the Punisher, the scientist sounds like almost every scientist depicted in popular media, and the virgin mother is so blank (cause virgins regularly don’t have personality) that she barely makes a sound or expression until she’s forcing Jesus out of her.  And, perhaps worst of all given the material, Murphy can’t quite break out of his complete disregard for religious people while putting atheism on a self-righteous and, frankly, annoying pedestal.  So, while the concept itself is interesting, certainly enough to warrant me buying issue two, this initial issue is not doing any favours for Murphy’s ability to tell a story.  It’s unfortunate, but so far it took me a couple of tries just to make it through.  I thought it would be shock at the very least, but it isn’t even that.

Grade: 3/10    There’s something here, but I don’t think even Sean Murphy realizes it.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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