Punk Rock Jesus #5

by Vannary Sok on November 16, 2012

Punk Rock Jesus #5

Created by Sean Murphy (illustrator for Joe the Barbarian and American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest)


     As Punk Rock Jesus nears the end of it’s run, creator Sean Murphy continues to up the punk with a greatly intriguing and thought provoking story on a cloned Jesus named Christopher - Chris for short. Now as the newly welcomed lead vocalist for a punk rock band called The Flak Jackets, Chris launches a tour to spread his secular message across America and then later worldwide, starting with the birthplace of Christianity - Jerusalem. Although Chris and his band have become a nationwide phenomenon embraced by punk rockers and even scientists too, conflicts still arise and are growing ever hotter spurning on a war with the New American Christians and the decades long reign of Christian fundamentalism.  Murphy excellently sets up an issue that will lead us to the big finale, an ending that is certainly going to be epic.


     Being a six issue series, one can’t help but feel like it should be longer (or at least I want it to... It’s that good!) Between each issue, years are skipped so I have to ask, “Does it feel rushed? What does that do for character development? Do we lose out on crucial information because we aren’t shown what happens in those years gone by?” I think Murphy infuses Punk Rock Jesus with such solid characters and writing that it doesn’t matter if it skips a couple years. He is able to put focus on what is necessary to the story and it’s point without losing pace. We care for these characters that have been created by Murphy because they show strong beliefs and will stand up for their principles that, even through the chaos and brawling, there is some little light of hope within.


     The writing is sharp and full of depth, touching on topics and issues surrounding religion, society, media, and humanity, sparking us to think of and discuss our own values and beliefs. Clearly, Murphy is not afraid to offend - a very punk rock mentality that is all about sticking up the middle finger to authorities. I love Murphy’s use of punk rock culture as an integral element of telling the story as it unfolds. It’s underlying philosophies and values of freedom and pure, stripped down, no bullshit attitude is a driving force within Chris. We see him grow out of his meek boy skin and develop into a rebellious and angry teenager with an IQ of 185 fervent to break the delusions brought on by religion while trying to expose Slate, the television executive who’s actions are the initial causes that ignites Chris’ rebellion. By far though, Thomas McKael, the former IRA operative and now turned bodyguard for Chris, is my favorite character in the story. His character also shows some development through flashbacks that feed and build our curiosity on Thomas, illustrating that this man is far more complex than he lets on. He’s also one you would want on your team. His badass-ery shining through in every page and panel, especially when a club owner and his five goons challenge him but are quickly reminded that if they’ve ever watched the reality television show, they know exactly what Thomas is capable of.


     Murphy’s art is always at it’s best as each line, thick and thin, and every spot of shading, is done with purpose and detail regardless of the bare minimum black and white that’s exercised. The lack of colors just proves more effective because it brings the story forward. If you took away the dialogue, you would still have the characters’ emotions strongly resonating off the pages through his immaculate execution of lines and scratches on the characters faces. He’s a connoisseur at achieving great detail that I find myself gazing at a page for a longer period of time because there is always more to look at than at first glance.


     I can go on and on about how awesome Punk Rock Jesus is. It is plentiful in substance but this is a miniseries that I suggest you just read yourself. So, what are you waiting for? It’s not too late! Go on and up the punk because I wouldn't want you to be missing out on what I honestly think is one of the best and controversial comics of the year.

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