Review: This is a rather unique book. There are some rather distinct features in the book that deserved to be addressed individually. Because of this, I'll look at the Art, Story and Theology in that order.
Art: From what I understand Jeff Slemons (who drew Job) illustrated the lion's-share of the book. Alan Lathwell, and "Buzz" also worked on the book.
The art is stunning. It is beautiful and brutal all at once. Forgiving a few blurry scans/transfers, this large book shows epic battles, unique (yet familiar) hybrid creatures, and a wide range of emotions on the faces of the characters.
Slemons and the team draw scenes depicting hellish, angelic, urban and even pastoral locations.
I particularly liked the design of Lucifer as a cherub, with the faces of a man, eagle, lion and bull. I've never seen the dark one portrayed like this, and it works well. The four faces don't look out of place, but communicate the might of this fallen angel. Positioning the bull's head behind the face of the man was particularly visual, since it gave Satan horns.
The illustrations are consistently fan-flipping-tastic throughout the 145 pages of the story.
The art exceeds most of the contemporary work found on comic stands today.
Story: The story is described as an "Epic of Biblical Proportions" and author Rob Hughes certainly draws in a number of epic elements. Our heroine, Luna, is not only from a long line of warriors, but also has a bloodthirsty, shape-shifting curse coursing thought her veins. There are werewolves, giant nephilim, the anti-Christ, Lucifer, cathedrals, castles, towers, and a pet baby fox!
Hughes' dialogue is believable and well-written. The narration, and characters' interactions sound modern - except in ancient flashbacks, where they understandably sound ancient. The book spans centuries of history.
And that's the weakness of the story. It is filled with so many elements, plot points, and timelines that the tension of the story is never rightly established. Conflicts are brought up, then left unresolved as Luna is thrust into yet another conflict. As I read, I hoped that these seemingly unconnected battles and intrigues would culminate in the climax, but they really didn't. In fact, the book climaxed with an awesome battle, that would have worked much better if the story had built toward that end. Once I reached the end, I expected to read that this was an ongoing saga and the second volume was being produced. But there was no such note.
This isn't to say that the story was not enjoyable. On the contrary, I enjoyed it a great deal. But even though the book is rather large, there simply was too much going on, too many plot points and unresolved conflicts to give the reader a satisfying conclusion.
Theology: The end of the comic, after the conclusion of the story, features a number of articles on a variety of theological topics.
This was the low-point of the book.
First, there is a one-page "How to Be Saved" article that espouses baptismal regeneration (baptism in the name of Jesus to be saved) over and against salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (i.e. John 3:16; Romans 10:8-10; Ephesians 2:8). This, in and of itself is problematic enough.
But we're also given an extended article about how werewolves - and were-bears, were-loins (I pray to God that was a typo), were-orangutangs and were-tarantulas - are real. The biblical "evidence" demonstrates a demonstrably horrendous hermeneutic, of which I would have required my students to write a five page paper enumerating all the reasons their abuse of the text and its genre was wrong. The article further ponders weather or not the pseudepigraphical (false writer) book of Enoch was divinely inspired on the level of Holy Scripture!
No theologian has ever, in the history of Judaism or Christianity, claimed that it was.
The book of Enoch is useful in two ways. First, it helps us understand what the dead literary genre of "Apocalypse" is really about. Second, it gives us a glimpse into one of the interpretations of the more difficult passages in the Hebrew Bible (namely Genesis 6).
Frankly, it's stuff like this that muddies the real supernatural issues in scriptures. I have a personal goal of preaching through every word of the Bible, and I can say with confidence that werewolves (or were-loins) will never come up. Recall Paul's admonishment to Timothy: "But have nothing to do with irreverent and silly myths" (1 Timothy 4:7a).
But, the theology is not all bad. I did appreciate, in the actual comic, how the Hebrew names for Yahweh, and Yeshua were frequently invoked. It gave this modern story both a Jewish and ancient framework that added to the overall setting of the story.
Conclusion:The artwork is amazing. I want to go out and find all of Jeff Slemons' work now and enjoy his artistic imagination. The story was rather enjoyable. It could have stood to be more focused, but it moved along at a rather rapid pace. The theology in the concluding articles (and a teensy bit in the actual story) range from absolutely wrong, to very unfortunate.
Art: 5/5 (I Loved It!)
Story: 3.5/5 (I Liked It)
Theology: 1.5/5 (I Really Didn't Like It)
Find the book on the official website.