US: Feb 2011
Ever order a half-sized sandwich, and then, when it’s finished, realize you were much hungrier than you thought? So it is with Mark Millar’s Chosen, a new miniseries from Dark Horse Comics. In an interesting mash up of The Wonder Years meets The New Testament, Chosen follows the story of young Jody, a boy who in the eighties realized he was the Messiah, or something kind of like it, when a truck landed on him and he inexplicably survived the incident unharmed. There is an almost Steinbeckian reaction from the townsfolk until it becomes clear that he has to go to New York to learn to use his powers and abilities, and this is where the almost inevitable twist comes in.
However, it happens a little too late, and unfortunately creates infinitely more questions that it answers. It practically screams sequel, although it’s abundantly clear that a sequel would be so vastly different in tone and scope and tone as to virtually be a different book anyway. If Jesse Custer had lived in, say, rural Connecticut and not Clusterpump, Texas, this could almost be the prequel to (writer Garth Ennis’ blasphemy-minded series) Preacher. There’s that nasty twist at the end that somewhat invalidates that, but still, Jesse probably fits into the category described, which would put all of Preacher in a new light with just one word.
The art is incredible, vibrant and warm and evocative of cozy small-town America. The colors, especially, evoke feelings of nostalgia for the days of jelly bracelets and GI Joes. It’s quite common for art to blow you away in comics with slam-bang action and effects; it’s refreshing to be impressed with how calm and comforting a comic’s style is.
The dialogue is top-notch, and the whole book gives one the sensation of life in this small, normal town where a local punk kid has started turning water to wine and raising the dead. Characters like the faithless priest and the twitchy friend aren’t just archetypes, they feel realized and solid. This is all the more painful with the ending comes so abruptly.
Chosen is a great read, well-researched and solidly put together. As long as you go into it knowing that the end drops like an axe, it’s a lot of fun. Consider this a recommendation, and when the trade comes out, give it a look.