Writer/artist: Sean Murphy
With the launch of Punk Rock Jesus this summer, Vertigo reminded all comic book fans what this imprint is capable of when the right talent is around. Sean Murphy’s creator-owned triumph is satirical, emotional, unpredictable, and dangerous all at once. The book tells the story of a reality show named J2 that used DNA from the Shroud of Turin to create a cloned version of Jesus Christ, named Chris, who grew up for all the world to see on their TV.
Along with his mother, Gwen, Chris' every move was watched by audiences and a security force led by a former IRA operative named Thomas McKael. With radical Christian protesters attempting to get to him constantly, a sleazy TV executive abusing them for his own gain, and their freedoms all but stripped away, the mother-and-son duo begins to see the world in a completely different light.
This mini-series is densely packed with commentary on the media, religion, politics, and everything in between as Murphy brings biting wit to each new topic. The visceral, heady nature of his plots are complimented perfectly by the black and white art that goes along with the story. It's not about flashy splash pages or digital coloring techniques—Punk Rock Jesus is a stripped down, raw, and seriously powerful.
If you’re expecting Punk Rock Jesus to treat you with care and leave you with a smile on your face, then read something else. Murphy's book is a repeated kick to the crotch that will take all of your cherished beliefs and put them through a literary wood chipper. It could've made it even higher on this list if the final issue came out in 2012, but, alas, we still have a few weeks to go until this wraps up.