Top Cow Productions/Image Comics 2015
Created & Written by Matt Hawkins
Created & Illustrated by Rahsan Ekedal
Coloured by Mike Spicer
This is one of those touchy subject matter books that’s wrapped up in some excellent modern technology and full of action/adventure and intrigue that makes it not only socially relevant but also ripped from headlines at it’s core. This is a smartly written edgy look at what happens behind the scenes of those mega-churches and the two opposing forces that while may have the same end goal are going about it in very different ways.
The relationship that is going on between James Howard of the FBI and Sam leader of the Samaritan’s has so much potential, there’s this drama to it and that desire on James part to prove that this unknown is not a better hacker than he is, see injured pride, is something we see play out beautifully. Plus adding to all this is the fact that James while fundamentally believes in what Sam is doing he’s working for the government to shut her down and it’s that personal involvement level that’s almost clouding judgments.
What Samaritan is doing with social media and swaying public opinion on those that they see as hypocritical and damaging by doing things that are incredibly illegal the Bureau can’t fight things on that level making what they can do much more limited. Yes the Bureau would like to take these false prophets down within the legal system and not by using technology and equipment that can be considered intrusive and unethical really does hamper what they can do and how quickly they can do. Instead of pooling resources they are at odds and it’s this kind of writing and angle that makes these two opposing forces such compelling reading.
Rashan and Mike’s work on the interiors really has this way of hammering home just how both sides feel at any given moment. The facial expressions alone are wonderfully done and the mood, tone and setting we get from page to page just enhances the reading experience. Page seven has a great example of the impact they have with that Sorry game they find in a casket and just that really bright pop of colour on a page with otherwise muted tones really makes a strong statement. Also seeing Rachel and Mike in the motel room is just another instance of what they do to keep this story as powerful visually as the words themselves are.
On a side note it’s too bad that Mike had that sheet where it was on his otherwise very enticing body.
It was only a matter of time before this rivalry between to very high emotionally strung sides escalated to the point of no return. It happens this issue in a spectacular way that just cannot be imagined. With what we see this issue as the action unfolds is both smart and scary all at the same time. It’s such a interesting story and you can’t help but get lost in the Mission Impossible feel to while they take justice on those who they see as men of god who feel they are above the law and moral judgment by others. It’s a slippery slope but not preachy and yes there are plenty of sources to quote for mega-churches being too solvent and their ministers being too wealthy as a result but it’s a damn good story.
Matt has gone and taken something inherently personal, religion, how it’s seen and how those who oppose the hypocrisy involved and made it the kind of read you’ll never forget.