American Virgin: Head

Steven T. Seagle, Author, Becky Cloonan, Illustrator, Jim Rugg, Illustrator . DC/Vertigo $9.99 (97p) ISBN 978-1-4012-1065-6

Sex and spirituality wrestle in the first story line of this intriguing new comic. The eponymous Adam Chamberlain is a youth evangelist who believes God wants him to remain pure until his fiancée, Cassandra, returns from Peace Corps service. When he hears that Cassie has been raped and murdered in Africa, he sets aside his belief in forgiveness and seeks vengeance, accompanied by his worldlier stepsister and a mercenary they pick up in Pretoria. Besides encountering cultural differences that conflict with his neat American version of Christianity, Adam also begins seeing visions of a cheerfully topless Cassie who gently questions his biblical interpretations. Many people Adam encounters want to watch him get violent—and laid—because that would justify their own shaky principles. That probably includes most readers, but so far Seagle has kept the character naïve but smart, likable and even admirable in his efforts to stay pure, whatever that means. Indie artist Cloonan's work is raw enough to fit the ugly experiences Adam must assimilate, though all her people wear the same grimace and too much mascara. Adam's development may wind up closer to Tezuka's Ode to Kirihito than Ennis's Preacher ; right now, though, all possibilities are open, and that's part of the story's attraction. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/20/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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