August 8, 2012

Unto Dust: A Review of Earthbound Comics' GOOD SAMARITAN

(Full Disclosure: an electronic copy and sample art were provided for purposes of review. My opinions are my own)

Once upon a long ago, I was an altar boy...more accurately, I was a substitute altar boy, which meant that when one boy couldn't serve a mass (usually, the 6:30 am mass), I was called in. Heading to a church around dusk, in a south side Chicago neighborhood, provided a heady atmosphere of almost noir-ish serenity, colored with muted tones.

I bring this up because Earthbound Comics' Good Samaritan, a two-issue mini series written and lettered by Zone 4 pal Mike Luoma, manages to balance a variety of moods....and the art and colors by Frederico Guillen and Ken Lateer provide a great backdrop for what is (most likely) one of the more unique premises in comics.

It's 1965, and Father Bill Sullivan works at a Boston parish tending to his congregation. It's a heady time, with Vatican II providing the potential for massive change within the church. However, much of that change does not include Father Sullivan's nocturnal activities, which involve using his (presumably) God-given powers to hunt down and remove criminals....and of course, complications ensue.

One of the things that I really like about this book is the noir-ish tone of Mike Luoma's writing - yes, some of the plot complications might seem "torn from the headlines", but placing that tone within the context of an urban archdiocese gives it a sharper edge. Even the more fantastic elements seem to fit well within terms of the story. But the art by Guillen and Lateer is what really sells the atmosphere - the mix of shading and color really sell the idea that this is an urban noir tale....that just happens to feature a super-powered priest. (Rather than, say, a Batman story which is about a guy in a cape who just happens to live in an urban setting).

To put it bluntly, Good Samaritan: Unto Dust is one of the more distinctive, entertaining, flat-out pleasurable reads to come out this year. You're only hurting yourself by not reading this book. You'll be pleasantly surprised, and you'll thank me later.

Available via IndyPlanet and Drive Thru Comics.

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