cover image Punk Rock Jesus

Punk Rock Jesus

Sean Murphy. DC/Vertigo, $16.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-4012-3768-4

This bracing tale of the Second Coming uses contemporary social issues to explore a familiar “what if?” scenario—namely, what would happen if Jesus showed up and was confronted with the corrupt, consumerist culture in which we live? In Murphy’s version of this oft-posed query, a power-hungry producer of a reality television show plays a key role: he has Jesus’s DNA, extracted from the Shroud of Turin, injected into an anonymous teenager whom he “casts” as the new virgin. In tracing the maturation of the new Jesus (named Chris here), the action is fast and the plotting is thick—there is a former IRA terrorist as the producer’s head of security, a geneticist whose work is tied to the success of the show, and a very gentle polar bear. The ambitious story tends to get a little too big in terms of plot; this bloating distorts character dynamics, occasionally twisting them in unnatural directions. But the story’s bigness has an upside: Murphy has constructed a compelling, searching, and important tale that embraces some of the biggest questions of our day, and he does so using incredibly energetic art with dynamic, elastic compositional approaches. (Apr.)