What would the second coming of Christ be like in today’s world? It’s by no means an original idea but a potent one that Mark Millar develops pretty well with artist Peter Gross in American Jesus.
A slacker kid called Jodie gets hit by a truck and miraculously survives. But this is the first of many changes for Jodie as his personality quickly changes from under-achieving waster to becoming enormously intelligent and wise, healing the sick, turning water into wine, and even bringing the dead back to life. Is he the second coming of Jesus?!
It may not be the most original concept but Millar does a fine job of making it interesting especially as writing teenagers is his strong suit. The scenes with Jodie and his friends read fine and seeing Jodie’s powers develop was fun despite its predictability. His grown-up characters on the other hand are pretty much ciphers, especially Jodie’s parents who’re just blanks (and how about their on-the-nose surname, Christianson?!). Jodie’s teacher though is just plain ridiculous, screaming swear words at him when he scores high in a test – come on, he’d be fired if he did that!
Unfortunately, Peter Gross’ art just didn’t do it for me. The pages looked all washed out, the figures were unremarkable and dull, and, considering the calibre of artists Millar usually works with, Gross is definitely among his least impressive collaborators.
This first book - coming in at a mere 3 issues – is all setup for the next book which looks to take the original premise and go in a completely different direction. The ending was definitely unexpected and so good that I’m on board to read the next volume but since the third issue ended 10 years ago it doesn’t look like Volume 2 will be coming out anytime soon. American Jesus is definitely worth a read though and you could imagine the ending as a standalone, Twilight Zone-esque shocker.
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