American Jesus Book Three: Revelation

American Jesus Book Three: Revelation
American Jesus Revelation review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Image Comics - ‎ 978-1-53432-499-2
  • Volume No.: 3
  • Release date: 2023
  • UPC: 9781534324992
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Action Thriller

With a TV series in the works, Mark Millar found new impetus to complete his American Jesus trilogy, having begun it in 2004. Chosen and The New Messiah followed two different characters each having miraculous propensities and seen growing up in the USA. Both are believed to be Jesus returned, one conforming with expectation, and the other an unlikely candidate, but Millar’s laid the groundwork well in convincing readers that it’s Catalina Jones who’s the real deal while Jodie Christianson is a false messiah serving a Satanic agenda.

Revelation jumps forward again, to a time when Christianson is US President. While the ideas in American Jesus to date may offend those with strong Christian beliefs, until now Millar has avoided deliberate provocation, but that propriety is slung off a cliff during the opening chapter’s sordid events. It turns out sex and sacrifice are genuinely part of the Satanic plan for us all to have microchips embedded.

That opening chapter makes it seem as if Millar’s intends to take the obvious route with Revelation, and indeed the writer who began the series might have done so back in 2004, but the Millar of 2023 has a gentler end of days in mind despite following what the Bible lays out.

It all calls for considerable diversity from Peter Gross who’ll find himself drawing degradations in a church one day and confessions in one the next. There’s some unspecified help from Tomm Coker on the first and final chapters, which looks to be inking rather than drawing, but either way there’s a real richness to the cast. Gross’s preference is for passive faces overall, but when Jesus has her meeting just before the final doings Gross produces a great portrait. It’s simple, yet speaks volumes.

This is a real novelty from Millar. His successful career is founded on one high concept thriller after another, most well judged for maximum commercial potential and duly successful, and Revelation fulfils that brief. However as clever as Millar’s been, he’s never really had anything to say about the world as it is. Revelation does have something to say. It can be all too easily dismissed as the bleeding heart of a wealthy writer, but wouldn’t that be very Biblical in itself? Anyone outraged at the religious aspects, might want to put that aside and consider Millar pointing out how disappointing much of humanity is, and how much of that has been engineered.

It feeds into a finale not as apocalyptic as expected, but it’s an interesting role reversal if also a possibly difficult to believe form of infiltration. On the other hand it’s also a powerful testament to one of the most fundamental principles of human life. As noted, a TV series is imminent, and no-one would really have complained if Millar had dashed off a quick cash-in, yet instead Revelations presses the right buttons and provides food for thought.