Sunday, April 4, 2010

Jesus smote zombies for our sins

Jesus Hates Zombies (Alterna Comics, 2009)
Writer: Stephen Lindsay
Artists: Various
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

After flesh-eating zombies overrun the Earth, God sends his Only Son to save a small group of faithful. Unfortunately, Jesus is, once again, sent to Earth under-equipped for the job ahead of him, and he must fight his way through zombie hoards as he treks across the United States. This is one mission where there is no Love to be had from the Christ, because Jesus HATES zombies!

"Jesus Hates Zombies" is a collection of short stories drawn by various artists and written by series creator Stephen Lindsay. The art varies tremendously in quality, but, as a lover of the old-time anthology comics, I still appreciated the format. (Not enough to cut the editors any slack; some of the art really is at such a low level that I can help but wonder if it was drawn by someone's Significant Other.)

The stories, however, are of consistently high quality. While the idea of Jesus wandering a "Dawn of the Dead"-style world looking for the final pure souls so that he may bring them God's word while sending zombies back to their graves is fun in-and-of-itself, Lindsay manages to infuse every story with dark comedy that had me smiling at every page and even laughing out loud at more than one occassion. Jesus' initial arrival on Earth, his acquisition of a car, and his later acquisition of a zombie sidekick (appropriately enough named Lazarus) are all funny high points of a very funny book.

However, there are a few almost sad moments as well, such as the one where Jesus encounters zombies in an abandoned amusement park (in a tale that may remind some readers of the hit movie "Zombieland"*, but they should be aware that Lindsay's story was originally published in 2007.)

And then there's the horror. You can't have a zombie comic book without SOME horror. Here, the most chilling moments arise when Jesus thinks he is at the end of the quest but instead finds himself facing something very different than lost sheep waiting for his help; and the story where he's trying to get a good night's sleep and instead is cornered by hungry undead. But even the horror is delivered through a snappy script and funny artwork.

*Sidenote: As I watched "Zombieland," it reminded me both of this graphic novel and of "Zombies Calling," another great graphic novel of comedic zombie antics. I wonder if it was a case of great minds thinking alike, or if someone on the "Zombieland" writing team likes reading the sorts of books that get reviewed here at "Shades of Gray"?]

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