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Loaded Bible: Jesus vs. Vampires-- ADVANCE REVIEW

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Loaded Bible: Jesus vs. Vampires-- ADVANCE REVIEW

Credits

  • Words: Tim Seeley
  • Art: Nate Bellegarde
  • Inks: Mark Englert
  • Colors: Rex Justice
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Apr 19, 2006

In a post-apocalyptic world, the Earth is over-run by vampires and the only human city is on the brink of disaster – what would Jesus do? Kick vampire ass.

In the satirical world of Loaded Bible, the United States was attacked by fundamentalist zealots and, in response, chose a leader to protect them. Before long, the country moved to the offensive, attacking countries it suspected of harboring terrorists, all in the name of liberty. As America’s war against the Muslim world united people under the Christian dogma, a new threat arose in the form of vampires. The war between vampire and man continued until the planet was left a barren, radioactive wasteland. Only one city remained, christened New Vatican City, from which humanity continued the war against its enemies. Then, in their darkest hour, a savior returned to lead humanity – Jesus.

Suffice it to say, if the sub-title of this comic offends you, you’ll be equally offended by the interior. For those that are interested, or at least morbidly intrigued, by the concept I’ll offer what might be the strangest endorsement for a comic book ever – it is nowhere as heretical as you might think. The darkly humorous title, ad copy and tag line for this comic provide eye-catching hooks, but actually conceal the fact that Seeley has crafted an intriguing satire of both church and state. I don’t think that I’m spoiling anything by stating that the church/state is portrayed in a villainous role, but Seeley’s allegory works in such a way that the criticism is directed against the corruption and close-mindedness of these systems, as opposed to the systems themselves. Interestingly, Seeley’s lead character is actually remarkably close to the spirit of Jesus. As is pointed out in the course of the story, the flaws and weakness Seeley imparts on the protagonist are what makes it possible for readers to relate to him (just as the son of God born to flesh, makes it possible to relate to the Divine). Moving towards the conclusion, Seeley presents a clever twist to the story following Jesus’ meeting with a purebred vampire. By the issue’s end readers are left with a somewhat open ending that presents opportunity for interesting speculation of "What will Jesus do?" as well as the distinct possibility of a sequel.

Plus, Seeley writes some very funny gags (personally, I liked the "holy spit" one the best).

The art of Bellegarde and Englert has a cartoony feel to it that works well in two different ways. Most obviously, it suits the lighter, more humorous parts of the book well. In the more serious, darker or introspective parts of the comic, their style helps lighten the tone of a comic that, in lesser hands, could have easily become a preachy soapbox condemnation of 21st century Christianity in the United States. At times, some of the panels are very simple, almost sparse to a fault. This does however provide the opportunity for colorist Rex Justice to add some strong work, nicely capturing the glimmer of hope in a stark and desolate world.

Loaded Bible: Jesus vs. Vampires works because Seeley and company allow it to exist in two worlds. On one hand, the basic concept would do any aficionado of "B" horror movies proud. The comic also offers more substantial quandaries and problems for readers to latch onto and question. The answer Jesus finds at the end of the comic provides a sense of closure to the tale, but leaves the reader to ponder how he can resolve the larger problems of the world.

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