The latest in Rall’s rapid-fire series of graphic biographies of polarizing figures (including Bernie, Snowden, Trump) takes a more considered approach to its subject and is all the better for it. The book starts and ends with sharp questioning about whether this Argentine Jesuit reformer can turn around a scandal-plagued Catholic Church. In between, Rall provides as much context as biography, with pocket histories of everything from Argentina’s “Dirty War” to Vatican II. These pieces are neatly woven together into the narrative of how Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a onetime conservative whose diplomatic relationship with the military junta was criticized as “murky,” transformed into the humble reformer Pope Francis, cleaning up corrupt ancient institutions like the Vatican Bank and dispensing liberal bon mots such as “Who am I to judge?” that drive church traditionalists mad. Featuring his familiar slapped-together mixture of bug-eyed figures and zinelike photo and text montages, Rall keeps things informal in style, if not content. While snarky about gushing media coverage (summed up as “awesome cool pope changes up church”), this swift-paced and thought-provoking book is ultimately hopeful about whether this pope has “Made the Church Great Again,” providing readers a jumping-off point to keep questioning. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/26/2018 Release date: 03/13/2018 Genre: Comics
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