As fictional stories packed with enough inflammatory rhetoric to set off the apocalypse prophesied in this series itself go, The Saved looks like it is going to be packing one hell of a wallop. At least once, and if it finds the audience it seeks. Finding that readership could prove to be another problem entirely.
The key here is just to keep in mind that it is a fictional story – even if it is one steeped pretty deep both in current political events and the apocalypse fever which has swept America since at least 9/11. One thing is for sure. The folks at Revelation Comics have come up with the most overtly political and topical graphic novel this side of V For Vendetta. Which, at least for my money, is a good thing.
Give upstart writer R.T. Both credit for this much. She knows her rock and roll. In this, the second chapter of a projected six-book series, we meet two of the central characters, Bowie and Slade (like I said, the lady knows her rock and roll) in the very first frame.
The year is 2052 and America is a post-apocalypse Christian theocracy headed up by President Jeb Bush. Bowie and Slade (one black, one white) are the skate-punk sons of Rip Taylor. You heard me right. This writer apparently has a sense of humor in addition to her knowledge of seventies rock. Anybody remember Rip Taylor, the ridiculously effeminate, confetti tossing comic of the seventies?
Taylor is apparently some sort of high-ranking military guy in Jeb Bush's America. Which has by this time been reduced to a post-apocalyptic Supermall somewhere in Kansas where the remaining population waits for the rapture of the Christian faithful while shopping its brains out in some sort of state of ignorant, obedient bliss.
I like this already.
But, if this is starting to sound like it's pretty heavy-handed stuff to some of you out there, well you would be dead on the money. Both does little to mask her feelings about both the politics of present-day America and its relationship to evangelical Christians here. This series is even being promoted somewhat as a leftist sort of response to the wildly popular Left Behind series of fictionalized Christian novels about modern-day Bible prophecy.
Being as admittedly anti-Bush as I am, I was immediately sucked in by this aspect of the story. I've just never quite bought the way Bush wraps his agenda around a Bible. However, as a Christian myself (not all of us are right-wing crazies ya' know), I do have some problems with where this story may be headed based on the advance material I've received from the writer.
The idea of God as apparently the next incarnation of Buddha is one I personally find laughable, both in terms of my faith and my intellect. And as insulting on both of those levels as I find the way Bush, Cheney, and the like justify their political agenda in religious terms, I find it equally so when those who oppose it demonize all who believe in Jesus Christ. Which I will state here and now for the record that I do.
Contrary to common perception, not all of us Christians are hillbillys with a bible in one hand and a Jack Daniels bottle in the other. There are in fact quite a few of us who refuse to see beyond the cynical — and from where I sit anyway — condescending way so many of our fellow citizens have been led by the noses since 9/11.
Call us the real "silent majority." And every now and then, we have a tendency to speak rather loudly. As I think this past election has at least somewhat proven. That being said, I know a good story when I see one.
And I am definitely looking forward to future installments of this one. Which from what I have gathered from the materials the author has sent me culminates in some sort of super-confrontation in Chapter 6 called "Woodstock 2069." Can't wait for that one.
Regardless of my personal belief system, I am already hooked on this series as a story. And I can't wait to get the next chapter assuming Ms. Both still wants to send it to me.
Now, if only I could get just a bit of objectivity here…