Escape From Jesus Island
Writer: Shawn French
Artist: Mortimer Glum
Letters: Peeter Parkker
Editor: Shawn Greenleaf
Well folks, October is upon us. Spirit of Halloween is back at the mall and the time to read horror comics is nigh! Now I know what you're thinking, "Drew, there are so many great horror comics! What should I read?!" Well, let's dig a bit deeper than your typical horror stories and dive head first into Escape From Jesus Island, a creator owned title that instead of simply venturing outside of the box, rips out of it and burns what's left. I'm going to say my piece, but afterwards go to the site http://jesusisland.com/ for additional info and the ability to pick up the issues
EfJI tells the stories of multiple groups of individuals with one goal in mind. Finding Jesus. The nails from Jesus's original crucifixion have been discovered, and a DNA research company known as Regen Labs wants to use the genetic make up to breed another Jesus. We're talking walking on water, healing afflictions, every miracle we know Jesus to perform. The trials have proven to be disastrous, as all that has come out of the testing are mutated monstrosities, many of which are no longer capable of human thought, simply living as primal cannibals. Regen isn't the only organization aware of Jesus's DNA, as the Vatican is also on the island, seeking the only man who can cure a very influential religious figure of his illness. This isn't simply a matter of organization vs. organization however, as some of the mutants possess some unique abilities, and have decided to amass forces of their own.
French has created a tale which gives an extreme feeling of isolation as all of these violent factions are stuck on this research island in the middle of the sea, with nothing but a feeling of malice as a constant. Each group has their own archetypes such as the brawler, the tactician, the wild card, etc. but all the same French is able to provide character interactions and personality that insure no one is simply an employee/soldier. Another big success is writing that is over the top but isn't overly vilifying to religion. In many ways, shows more of a negative to science and how destructive it can be if done in greedy haste and without proper monitoring. In most forms of media, we have seen sci-fi, horror, and religious stories, but this series manages to combine each of those genres in a way that makes the sci-fi seem somewhat realistic, the horror apparent and dangerous, and the theology far from overbearing. Essentially, the three genres are melded seamlessly, and result is a comic successful on numerous levels.
As far as art goes, Glum understood the target audience of this story, and provided digital imagery to set the tone just right. Right off the bat we get to see some of his versatility as an artist by seeing the whole creative team drawn as if they were actual characters in this story. The art decides to completely shock the reader by starting with simple "high school kids exploring something creepy" imagery that immediately clashes with the sordid nature of the Regen Labs facility. Once that happens and the bodies start to pile up it is a serious upswing for the glory of Glum's gore. Pairing well with French's ability to give each character a distinct voice, Glum gives the cast a distinct look. No one looks the same ranging from the mutants to the more human occupiers of the island. This is a very visually stimulating series between the violence, mutants, action, and (admittedly) attractive female character models, but as many artists would end up with a story that is far too busy, Glum pulls off a style that is fun to look at and enjoyably gut wrenching.
Escape From Jesus Island pushes the envelope in a refreshingly new way that will not hesitate to make you a little uncomfortable, but undoubtedly curious about the horrors to come. Shawn French, Mortimer Glum, and the rest of the creative team have an aesthetic that they are working hard to develop, and with these first 3 issues they're off to a great start! The issues of this book are available for purchase here, each for a reasonable $3.99. Give it a look! 'Tis the season!