So my buddy and fellow comics blogger CD recently wrote on this site about an Avatar Press book called, “Absolution.” He didn’t write much–just a blurb. But then he loaned me the whole series. I was skeptical at first, because graphically violent superhero books aren’t usually my thing, but after issue one I was hooked. It’s the story of a superhuman police officer who becomes a vigilante killer of bad guys. Fairly straightforward: Take Dexter and Punisher and mix in a few capes, and you’ve pretty much got it.
Or do you?
In this six-issue story, Christos Gage (best known for the Thunderbolts and War Machine Secret Invasion tie ins, and a bunch of Wildstorm indie titles) manages to paint a fully believable story of an antihero that not all readers will see in the same way. Much like the aforementioned Dexter series on Showtime, Gage’s lead character does very, very evil things. Sick things. Brutal things. To sick, brutal people. And when he is confronted by righteousness, in the form of “Servant,” a hero whose power derives from his faith in God, he even makes the holy warrior doubt himself.
If you’ve ever read a superbook and thought you’d behave differently if you were the one bitten by a spider, you might find these characters more relatable. Absolution is a great example of the “realism” movement that’s primarily found in the independent comic press these days–from the moral ambiguity of the characters in The Walking Dead to the fact that street heroes get put in comas in books like Kick Ass, comic books are embracing not only adult themes, but more and more mature ways of telling stories.
Oh, and by the way, the art is terrific, the covers are by Jaycen Burrows, and the action is basically nonstop. If this review makes it sound like Absolution in is a moral primer, don’t worry. It isn’t.
I don’t know if it’ll be released in a bound volume, but you can order all 6 issues from the Avatar website. And if you do, please drop me a line and let me know what you thought.