Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Punk Rock Jesus #6 of 6
Vertigo (DC) Comics
The Sean Murphy written and illustrated, Punk Rock Jesus, finishes up its controversial story with another stellar issue. The conclusion is every bit as thought provoking and heart pounding as the previous five, but it does feel like a rush to wrap up the series at times. One thing is certain and that this is a mini-series that shouldn't be passed up. This is one of the better mini-series I've read in recent years.
The dense story continues to tell two tales, each with different themes. The story that I have found the most compelling is that of the former IRA turned bodyguard, Thomas.
Thomas concludes his story in this issue with two sides pulling at his actions. On the one hand he has strong hatred and revenge that clearly has put him on a violent path. That backstory gets finished in this issue with very interesting results. The present day Thomas has a high amount of faith and stronger morals but his violent past makes him the perfect candidate to contradict any acts of contrition that he might seek. The tale of Thomas is more tragic than that of the lead character because he truly can't find a path and in the confusion seems to always take the wrong road.
The lead character, Chris, has a much more straight-forward ending. Chris continues to endanger everyone around him as his narcissism and self-centered attitude is being masked by his notions of fighting a good fight. Chris finally realizes what he really is at the very end when everything seems to be falling apart. It's a very satisfactory ending to a very confused and unhappy character.
The only negative is the ending feels so rushed. This isn't just with regards to the story elements, but with the artwork as well. I felt the crash seen at the end swept too many details under the rug in terms of how some characters survived versus others. There was a similar feeling in the beginning of the book with the bombing. The clarity of storytelling was much too fuzzy in this issue for my tastes.
The artwork ranges from amazing to less than finished, which is unfortunate for an otherwise brilliant comic series from Sean Murphy. There are some panels and pages that are every bit as detailed as the previous issues. Breathtaking line work and sharp inks created a fabulous look to the book. However, some panels seem to barely rise above sketching in this issue. Particularly some panels at the end during the final chase scene. I understand the need to keep the book on schedule and I am willing to make concessions to have the book finished but that detracts slightly on the final score.
Punk Rock Jesus is a book that will leave you thinking. While it is a politically charged story that takes a lot of shots at the right side of the political spectrum I think it serves the story well and shows flaws in all of the characters in the book. There are simply no clean-cut heroes in this story and that adds to the appeal. This is something to read, re-read and ponder. Definitely pick this up.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles