Sunday, June 7, 2015
"The Rise of the Antichrist" #1 and #2 Review
When you have something as clearly influenced by religion as a comic touching on concepts of the Antichrist, you figure you're either going to get a super-religious bore that reads like a conservative's wet-dream (just look at Chick tracts), or a supremely politically-incorrect work that mocks religion thoroughly (A variety of Garth Ennis works spring to mind). Interestingly enough, "The Rise of the Antichrist" doesn't really read as a piece of preaching or as if it has the intent to be a parody. Instead, it comes off as an at-times gruesome piece of horror that also deals a fair amount with mental illness.
It is clever to think that someone obsessed with religion from a childhood of being told bible stories to an adulthood where he plucks out his own eye after feeling sinful for ogling a woman would be picked by the Devil to be the new bringer of death and destruction, and the imagery is suitably twisted. The quoting of the bible may be meant to give things an air of authenticity, but the creators go a little heavy on it in the first issue before thankfully letting-up with the bible and focusing more on the plot in the second. The character of Michael is clearly meant to be someone we pity, and his unhealthy obsession with being morally-right and how he is doomed to be a force of evil does make him an empathetic character. Some other elements are less fun, with a variety of characters seeming paper-thin in terms of depth, and allusions that are a bit on-the-nose (a woman named Judith--like Judas--we barely get to know is accused by Michael of being a traitorous friend, the hospital is called Golgotha, etc.). You don't need to be well-versed in Christianity to understand everything, but having a passing familiarity with the religion does let you pick up some references in that manner.
3.5 out of 5 stars (for both).
You can find the 1st issue for sale on Comixology here, with the 2nd issue found at this link.