Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Comic Book Report: Therefore, Repent!

Interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying. Minor spoilers ahead...

The premise of this graphic novel is instantly engaging: some time ago, a significant portion of Earth's human population ascended skyward, apparently fulfilling the Biblical prophecy of Rapture. Some of the Christians left behind believe they're being tested, and are waiting for a second rapture event to join their fellow faithful. For most people, not much has changed, except that there appear to be armed angels roaming around, and magic is now real.

The story revolves around the relationship between Raven and Mummy, a couple who wear masks to make open commentary about the state of the world. They arrive in Chicago, take up residence in an apartment whose former occupants disappeared in the Rapture, and do their best to fit in. Then their dog starts talking, and things just get weirder from there. But in a good way.

The trouble with this book is the ending. The whole story is divided into six chapters, and the first five are pretty much contiguous, time-wise. But then an entire month passes between the end of chapter five and the beginning of chapter six, and some non-trivial plot developments occur during that time. I might have been okay with that if the resolution had been entirely character-focused, but the big finale is a single expository chunk that explains everything about the world. Really. It's a huge letdown after such a great start.

On the bright side, the nuanced black-and-white art is great to look at, and it's definitely worth a read, if only to reinforce the lesson that even the best story idea can be diminished by poor execution. The entire book was released under Creative Commons, and you can read it online. There's also a sequel.

Buy the book: Powell's, Amazon (affiliate links)


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