by Sean Murphy
I enjoyed the last issue of Punk Rock Jesus, but I feel like Sean Murphy really brought his A-game to this issue. There is so much to like about this series. In it, Murphy has put together a reality show, called J2, around the idea that Jesus Christ has been cloned, and has been born to an 18-year old virgin girl who was carefully selected (and then surgically altered to reflect the correct demographics.
This issue takes place six months into the project. Young Chris has become a media star, despite the fact that he has no contact with anyone other than his mother, his doctor, and the security personnel that protect the J2 island compound from incursions by the NAC - the New American Christians, who are opposed to the show and all it represents. When the issue opens, Thomas McKael, the director of security and former IRA soldier, attacks them as they blockade the island.
From there, we learn that Gwen, Chris's mother, is having a hard time dealing with her celebrity, basic incarceration, and postpartum depression. She's begun drinking, and is unable to understand why her family hasn't visited. Geneticist Dr. Epstein (don't remember her first name) is worried about her, and announces her own pregnancy. Eventually, McKael takes Gwen out for a spin, to try to cheer her up, although that doesn't go so well.
There's a lot happening in this comic. Murphy uses a Larry King type character to show us how the media is responding to Chris, and his first two miracles, and it's increasingly clear to everyone that the people behind J2 care nothing about anything other than profit. No mention is made about the surprise ending of the last issue, although I'm sure that has something to do with Epstein's announcement.
Murphy's art is great, and while I still suspect that the book's black and white presentation was a cost-cutting move on DC's part, I like it a lot, and don't even mind the cheaper paper stock used. This is well worth picking up.