JESUS CHRIST: IN THE NAME OF THE GUN #1
Writer: Eric Peterson
Art: Ethan Nicolle
Bad Karma Productions $2.95
Some concepts are just irresistible for all the wrong reasons. Jesus Christ: In The Name Of The Gun, with its cover image featuring the Son Of God gunning down Nazis, is unquestionably one those concepts. You know such wantonly offensive and un-PC material should be beneath you, but if that's the choice you make you'd be missing out on one of the most insanely funny comics I've had the pleasure of reading in a while.
The book has Jesus - tired of God's lack of interest in Earth as humanity too often succumbs to its darker instincts - deciding that he needs to take matters into his own hands. Arranging a virgin birth, and timing it so that he's just the right age when Hitler is in his prime and about to push the world into a catastrophic war, he sets out to assassinate the Fuhrer and ensure the Holocaust never occurs! But there's one thing he doesn't factor into his plan: Ernest Hemingway (or "Ernest Goddamn Hemingway" as he dubs himself in the frenetic back-up feature)!
If this all sounds utterly bonkers that's because it is, but writer Eric Peterson's plotting is watertight, his protagonist's motives logical, and the tempo of the story just right, with all the beats perfectly timed. In other words this isn't a one-joke idea with nothing of any substance to back it up but a rollicking comical adventure brimming with action and wit. Niccolle's pencils are particularly strong, with wonderfully expressive characters and graceful fight scenes - he even manages give God Himself a cheeky and instantly recognisable likeness!
If you've ever felt any affinity with the Bible-bashing brigade then perhaps who should steer well clear of this book as it will probably have your blood boiling, but if you've always thought that religion deserves not to be taken too seriously and is a ripe subject for satirical comedy, then walk this way. Jesus may not turn water into wine here but he manages to create genuine excitement and belly laughs with nothing but words and pictures. Praise be! 9/10
NB: Jesus Christ: In The Name Of The Gun began life as a webcomic, and his continuing adventures can be found here. As a fan of the printed page though I'm pleased to see that a TPB edition of the full story is due out very soon!