"Modern Testament: Volume 3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Written by Frank Martin
Illustrated by Lucas Urrutia, Francesco Conte, and Joaquin Gr
Colored by Ezequiel Dominguez, Macarena Cortes, and Matej Stasko
Neil Gaiman's American Gods showed us what ancient gods were up to in present day. Frank Martin looks to do something similar with biblical creatures in the anthology comic series, Modern Testament. Volume 3 collects a trio of tales featuring a genie (which I don't remember in the Bible), an angel, and one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Each has a sort of lesson to be learned by it, albeit a little ham-fisted in its delivery.
Of the three stories, “Down with the Sickness” shows the most promise. It features a dying CEO of a pharmaceutical company who has been using all of the company's resources to search for a cure for his disease. Pestilence shows up in a surgeon's outfit to toy with the man like one of the ghosts from A Christmas Carol did to Ebenizer Scrooge. This is a great concept, although I'm not really sure where it's going. The final page teases more to come, so I'm curious as to where this goes next.
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Artist Joaquin Gr's design for Pestilence is a bit like the Mask, although a little more like a corpse. He's playful yet terrifying. The rest of his characters are well detailed and he's got some great layout work. He creates some excellent pacing for the story too.
“The Abandoned” is rather heavy-handed with its messaging, as a woman pines for her lost love, a man that walked out on her, then takes out her aggression on her son. There's a nice twist involving the child's lineage that leaves things open to more possibilities, however it's drowned in this theme of acceptance that's tough to get through.
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The opening tale “Shoulder Djinn” is just weird. It follows a young boy caring for his ailing mother as he begins a descent into a life of crime. All the while, two genies are acting as his conscience, not unlike the little devil and angel that would appear over a character's shoulders in old cartoons. The kid doesn't see them, or if he does, he doesn't react to them, even though they knock stuff over and seem incredibly loud. Like “The Abandoned,” the message is beat over your head a bit.
Modern Testament plays with biblical creatures with a tinge of horror. It conveys messages, not unlike the book that the beings are taken from, although very straightforward in its delivery. You almost expect Jesus to come out at the end of each tale with a closing message about what we learned, like Uncle Creepy or the Cryptkeeper.