Just a Pilgrim: Garden of Eden

Just a Pilgrim: Garden of Eden
Just a Pilgrim Garden of Eden review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Titan Books -
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Black Bull - 0-96724-896-5
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2002
  • UPC: 9780967248967
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Hilariously dark, excessively violent, and in exquisitely cultivated poor taste, Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra’s first outing on Just a Pilgrim certainly merited a second shot. We want both barrels, after all.

The Pilgrim was once a special operative, and his transformation into a Bible-quoting, shoot first maniac is best experienced in the opening volume (or the combined Just a Pilgrim: Complete). He walks a devastated Earth doing the Lord’s work in dispatching the resulting mutations and plain exploitative scum. The oceans may be dry, but at the deepest point of what was the Marianas Trench artificial light ensures plants still grow, and the lush vegetation provides the story title. However, there’s trouble in paradise, and a community of 92 has been reduced to a dozen by a form of aggressive, mutated jellyfish who possess humans.

Ennis uses the same mixture of the Pilgrim quoting the worst of the Bible accompanied by narrative captions provided by a journal, this time that of Dr Christine Page. Unlike the hero-worshipping Billy the first time round, Christine rapidly comes to detest the Pilgrim.

It’s not that Just a Pilgrim is a joke that doesn’t bear repeating, and there are funny moments to Garden of Eden, but it’s largely straightforward action, the slaughter is diminished, and it lacks a viable villain. The Pilgrim’s own barren personality was played off the irredeemable Castenado last time, while this supporting cast is all basically decent, and the threat has no character. The result is a straightforward action thriller, and theological discussions and attempts at providing the Pilgrim with a conscience rather than doctrine are unconvincing.

None of this is down to Ezquerra, who provides sterling action art, but it’s servicing a disappointment.