By Andy Frisk
Sep 18, 2010 - 23:22
The Magdalena and her accomplice, The Shepherd, arrive at a gothic castle in The Ukraine where they think the Anti-Christ child might be hiding out. As the descendent of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, Patience, the current Magdalena, wields the supernaturally powered Spear of Destiny (the spear that slew Christ on the cross) as a weapon against Satan and his minions. As The Magdalena, the Church’s warrior in the war against evil, Patience and The Shepherd, her trainer and Church appointed keeper, fail to find the Anti-Christ child, but are forced to send a particularly sensual and powerful demon to hell. The problem is that the demon knew they were coming for the child. Leaving the castle, now reduced to a burnt husk, the holy warriors wonder just how the demon of castle knew they were coming…
The Catholic religion based fictional story of The Magdalena continues, and in this issue writer Ron Marz manages to deliver the issue that I’ve been looking for since this series debuted. There is nothing particularly profound or groundbreaking about this series. Nor is there anything particularly original about the premise or the action. The story’s pacing, excellent artwork, and action all come together nicely though to produce a fun, visually appealing, and interesting read. Ever since Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code novel and movie, everyone seems to know about or have an idea or opinion on the whole Mary Magdalene/Christ lineage theories. The idea is becoming a bit trite and worn out in the world of fiction, but Marz’s The Magdalena skips all speculation and philosophizing and simply delivers a solid religious based fantasy adventure by simply going with the fact that Patience is the descendent of Christ and Mary Magdalene, and she's one heck of a holy warrior. This descendent of Christ really knows how to eliminate the very real forces of the devil in the world in a quite visceral manner. What’s so interesting about the whole premise is that it simply takes for granted, like all fiction based upon a religion or myth, that the religion’s story isn’t myth. It’s real. This can be quite a controversial theme for a work of fiction in the hyper sensitive world that we live in. There is nothing offensive in the series though, unless one takes offense to even portraying in a work of fantasy that Christ might have descendents. I, for one, always found horror/action/fiction that is based on or draws upon contemporary real world beliefs to be much more interesting and engaging than completely made up fantasy world gods and goddesses. The Magdalena definately satisfies my need for some contemporary religious action and fantasy. The fact that I grew up Catholic might have something to do with my interest in the story as well. This isn’t a book that you have to be Catholic to understand, appreciate, or enjoy though. It’s widely accessible.
Series artist Nelson Blake II manages to bring all of this religious fiction to life pretty adeptly. He masters all the action/horror sequential art requirements. His anatomy, fight choreography, and attention to costume detail are all solid. His panel background detail is weak in some spots, but overall isn’t completely lacking. Where his work really flourishes is in the detail of The Magdalena’s costume and his creative looking demoness which our Magdalena, Patience, battles in this issue. The demoness, just before transforming into a hideous denizen of Hell before our eyes, tries to seduce The Shepherd before trying to kill both him and Patience. Her look is pretty striking and is reminiscent of the demons in Guy Davis’ great Marquis series, albeit without the detailed erotic and downright vile looks. This is an all ages comic and not for a mature readers only crowd, but the demoness’ look is pretty horrific.
Overall, while not really a heady or deep read, The Magdalena is a very solid and fun, action packed religious horror/action book. It fits in nicely with publisher Top Cow’s line of supernatural horror/action books like Angelus, Witchblade, and The Darkness. It just might be the most interesting of the four given its protagonist and her semi-existential angst. I’m enjoying it and looking forward to just what Marz and Nelson II might end up doing with this series. Who knows, maybe they will get a little philosophical on us eventually. The hero of the tale definitely has the background story necessary to precipitate a turn towards the intelligently crafted metaphysical.
Rating: 8 /10