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A Quick One Before I Leave: Jog’s first dance with 8/1

Joe McCulloch

I’ll have more than one review next time, but until then…

Garth Ennis’ Chronicles of Wormwood #6 (of 6): In which the writer whose name is in the title concludes this tour of a spiritual cosmology in an appropriate place: the End of Days. Ennis has been pretty consistent with using the anything-goes attitude Avatar exhibits around their ‘name’ writers to write some genuinely idiosyncratic comics, stuff that might not fly at more guarded publishers for reasons beyond more-gore/more-sex/more-nasty. And this series has read like a particularly personal little thing, the religious manifesto of a man approaching 40, and becoming all the more convinced that there’s nothing willing to help people besides themselves.

The notion’s carried fairly smoothly through the series, from the idea of heavenly religious characters tossing away glory and wandering on Earth, to protagonist Wormwood’s inability to keep a relationship going, despite being the Antichrist and miraculous and all. I’ll confess to getting bored with the midsection’s tour of Heaven and Hell, your typical afterlife portrait of a cosmos inclined toward maximum irony (the terrorist was expecting 40 virgins, but got 40 little babies with dirty diapers – good one, Paradise!), although it does give artist Jacen Burrows some enjoyably ugly scenes to draw. But ironically, Burrows’ visual style has developed to the point where the particulars of his character art are more affecting than his ‘big’ pages, and so the book does best when kept intimate.

Anyway, this issue’s the Apocalypse, and it’s little surprise that Ennis sees such a planet-quaking threat as little more than state-of-fear hi-jinx wielded by the powerful to keep the people scared and easier to rule. Certainly Wormwood’s ultimate decision seems inevitable, given the book’s theme (helpfully spelled out via narration at the end). But this has been more a sorting-my-head-out comic from a prominent talent than anything else, and a highly OKAY one, with a GOOD conclusion.

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