The Power of Christ Compels You! The Chronicles of Wormwood
Review by Comix
Garth “The Menace” Ennis’s official fan-club signing in and my oh my, what things we have to show you! What unbelievable, soul-crushing, eye-popping, pants-shitting comic have we brought today, you ask? What has this man, a lover of animals and kisser of babies, who explodes ladies uterus’s with his turn of phrase, brought from the bowels of Hell for you to enjoy?! Well dang, ladies and gentlemen, you are a dangerous and unsavory lot, aren’t you? Always looking around the next corner for a thrill and chill like you have never seen! Well wouldn’t you know, I have just the thing, you sick bastards! Something to tickle your fancies (and your not-so-fancies) in a comic so unabashedly insulting and despicable, that Church would surely burn it in the streets if they ever read it. A comic about Jesus, The Antichrist, a nun-fucking Pope, a guy with a dick for a nose, and a horny Joan of Arc, and that’s in just the first few pages! I present to you, Chronicles of Wormwood.
Our comic begins with your everyman, Danny Wormwood. He’s got a nice home, pretty girlfriend, a fine job, and a pet rabbit. Except, he’s the Antichrist and his rabbit cusses like a plumber, but still, a pretty normal situation. I mean, just because he’s the Antichrist doesn’t mean he just gonna bring about the end of the world and be some sad bag of shit, right? That’s exactly how he feels too. Our Danny boy, instead of being his daddy Devil’s left hand is a producer for a big-time, TV studio and spends his time off drinking with his buddy Jay, the brain-damaged re-incarnation of Jesus Christ. Just as he gets settled in to never having to start the Armageddon, his daddy come crashing through his life, trying to convince him to take arms and bring down the masses. Little does Danny know that this isn’t just some raspy demand from a washed up, religious whipping post, but this time Satan has brought the Catholic Church and their whore-mongering Pope Jacko along for the ride to make it a little extra Armageddon-y. Seriously, just wait until God shows up, shit gets weird! What initially starts as a fucked up but feel-good comic between Jesus and the Antichrist, turns into a more fucked up, not so feel-good comic about Heaven, Hell, and all the crap in between. I guess that part is called Earth.
The Chronicles of Wormwood could probably be called “exploitative, anti-religious schlock,” but I call it a damn fine, super hilarious comic. I mean, yeah, it’s definitely “exploitative,” “digusting,” and a “feral, unwashed piece of a mental patient’s shit,” or whatever fancy words people with journalism degrees are using these days, but hot damn, does it do it right! Garth Ennis, in classic Ennis fashion, takes everyone’s favorite picket religion and points out its ironies and insults to such a degree that he makes Christianity almost comical. He tears apart their religious and moral arguments, balls it up into a fine, meaty patty, and feeds it to you in a six-issue, single trade comic book. The thing is, he also does it in a way that, despite being grotesquely shocking, is also surprisingly deep and meaningful. Through Danny, he constantly reinforces the idea that religion does not make you a good person, it does not determine where you go after you die. All it takes is to be a decent person with a good heart. That’s it. No Bible-thumping, no anti-abortion rallies, just be good and to do good and BAM! You’re in Heaven. Garth Ennis doesn’t just spit at religion for spitting sakes, he just believes in moderation, be it TV, candy, or the scriptures. Any more than that, then you’re a fuckwad and he’ll probably write a comic about you.
Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard me sing the praises of Garth Ennis over and over and tell you all to go read all his comics right now or I will find you and slap the ever-loving jibblies out of you, so I’ll skip that part. But Jacen Burrows, that’s a whole different bit of song and dance. Burrows is the amazing artist who had the incredible luck of slapping his ink to this comic. If you happen to recall, he is also the same artist who drew Alan “The Lore of” Moore’s comic Neonomicon, and Garth Ennis’s Crossed, both which I have reviewed and greatly praised (click the links). Apparently, this guy gets around and is amazing at doing it, because his art has added an extra dimension of crazy to Chronicles’ already messed up premise. His sharp colors and fantastic horror designs really give you the creeps deep down under and I love him for it. It’s usually really hard to pull off what I’m about to say of this artist, but I truly believe this about him: any comic that he has done, go read them even if you only know his name. Though he didn’t write any of the comics he has done, he has picked some of the weirdest, most amazingly bizarre and profoundly deep comics that I have ever read. I don’t know if it’s just his luck or his art has built a reputation around itself of only working on mind-blowing comics, but everything he’s done has been pure gold. I’ve unknowingly read tons of comics he’s drawn and finally (actually just now) have followed the strings back to him and Chronicles is no exception. Ennis and him are the symphony of horror that my heart beats to.
Chronicles of Wormwood is published by Avatar Press and is available as a single, trade paperback. Unfortunately, there is no extra stuff like artwork or covers, but the story really speaks for itself, so it’s no biggie. There is also a couple of sequels… wait, there are sequels!? And I haven’t read them? What is wrong with me!? I need to go read them right now! Holy fuck, I can’t believe I haven’t seen this yet! That’s my cue to go, people, but you know, go read some Ennis or I’m gonna find you.