Review - The Rise of the Antichrist #1

"God works in mysterious ways."

Faith is a powerful means of dealing with life. Some people use it as a guide, whereas others use it exclusively to make tough decisions. There are still others who feel completely devoted to it in a way that borders on obsession, which leads to situations such as those in The Rise of the Antichrist #1 from Ether Comics. The issue is written by Betvin Géant, illustrated by Kay and colored by Milton Das.

A man who is killed for his beliefs and returns to life convinced that he is the second coming of Christ. He's God's most devout follower and he is bent on saving the world. Nobody has better intentions than him, but as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The struggle between good and evil is pretty much eternal. It's that struggle that Géant taps into for The Rise of the Antichrist #1, offering a main character in Michael who constantly seeks to reconcile his life with his faith. That battle never seems to end for anyone who's devout and Géant ensures that Michael's choices make him just that. In a way, the story is pretty haunting in its commitment to maintaining faith, providing the context for a story about a character so absorbed by his belief system. Géant capitalizes on that as a means of creating a new hero--or anti-hero depending on how you look at it. In that regard, The Rise of the Antichrist #1 does a pretty solid job of building up to the big reveal at the end, where a man's constant attempts to maintain devoutness are essentially punished.

Many of the illustrations have an indie, photorealistic quality to them. Kay relies on that look to hammer home to more mature nature of the book, as Michael acts out quite violently when it comes to demonstrating his commitment to religion. Generally speaking though, the artwork is fairly minimal in terms of character designs and setting. There are some interesting panel layouts that feature some fairly terrifying renderings of the characters and the mental health facility where Michael is residing. Kay does an exceptional job in illustrating Michael's pain, which is further amplified by Das' muted colors and helps his tribulations resonate with the reader more effectively.

The Rise of the Antichrist #1 boasts an abundance of references to faith (Christianity in particular) in a seemingly scholarly fashion. It's clear that the book draws heavily on that background, but does so in a way that's fitting. Géant successfully infuses religion into all of Michael's decision-making, as well as using it as the pretext for his transformation. Kay's illustrations are somewhat scattered yet effective in relaying Michael's plight--both physically and mentally. The Rise of the Antichrist #1 is an interesting first issue that tackles one's blind devotion to faith as a mechanism for coping with life.

The Rise of the Antichrist #1 will be available on Comixology May 20, while The Rise of the Antichrist #2 will be available on Comixology on May 27.