Tuesday, December 24, 2013
"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned."
Religion is a dish best served cold. Actually, it's revenge, but in instances where the one meting out the revenge is also very religious, the two could technically go hand-in-hand. That's the case in Wrath of God #1 from Unseen Shadows. The issue is written by Cy Dethan, illustrated by Steve Penfold, colored by Gat Melvyn and lettered by Nic Wilkinson.
The Reverend: a holy weapon forged in tragedy and flame - a murderous martyr whose cold judgment strikes with the force of a vengeful God. Despair, for the Reverend walks among you. He is the right hand of vengeance. He is Wrath. And he's really, really good at what he does, leading to a flood of bullets and blood following immediately behind it, proof of his effectiveness.
The character of Jonathan Bishop isn't quite original, but he is infused with quite a bit of vengeance and righteousness, enough to get him through the violence of many situations. The first issue spends most of the time exploring what made him so effective at combat, giving the reader a glimpse into his extremely difficult upbringing. Certain individuals capitalized on that anger and parlayed it into ruthless fighting skills, enough that Bishop became feared by all who heard his name. This experience pays off because it gives him the chance to avenge a weaker individual and make a statement in the process.
Penfold's art is distant. He relies on pretty solid colors and strong accents, courtesy of Melvyn. A lot of attention is paid to how the characters react to various situations; primarily, the emotion expressed is one of fear or sadistic joy on the part of those around the main character. The panel layouts don't really stray too far from the tried and true rectangles on a page, with a few panels inset for breaking up the monotony. There are a couple of pages where the art is a little inconsistent with the rest of the book, but it's not too distracting to the reader.
Wrath of God #1 is a violent, no-holds barred look at a hitman who relies on religion in a manner of speaking. He's feared for his prowess, yet tends to want to use his ability to help those around him. It's a classic motivation and is enough of one to bring out a hail of gunfire upon his opponents. There's the requisite evaluations of faith and reconciling it with death peppered throughout the book, enough that it does afford the reader some leeway to project their own beliefs onto the character.
Wrath of God #1 is available now via Comixology.