Saturday, May 24, 2003

Testament #6 Review


The idea behind Douglas Rushkoff's series, Testament, is that he wants to depict a world where events take place that parallel events in the Bible, in an attempt to show that the power of the Bible is not that it is an ancient text that must be followed at all costs (a fundamentalist approach, I suppose), but rather, that the tales of the Bible have important meanings today, as the Bible could very well be happening today - and that's what happens in Testament - the Bible happens "today."

I thought that the first issue or so under this approach were interesting, but I will admit to losing interest a bit in the last four issues, as the story seemed (to me) to lose a little coherence.

I am pleased to say that this issue regains that coherence, in an interesting retelling of the Garden of Eden. In this issue, Rushkoff is aided by guest artists Peter Gross and inker Gary Erskine, who do an excellent job of filling in for Liam Sharp. I actually prefer Gross to Sharp, but I appreciate Gross' attempt to make the transition quite smooth, as he adjusts his style to appear not all that dissimilar than Sharp (Sharp is still involved, as he supplies the cover - which, for some reason, is NOT the drawing provided to us by DC. The above drawing is the first page of the comic, not the cover. Weird, eh?).

What I was most impresse by in the comic was the part where Rushkoff showed how the story of the Bible was a plot by three gods to gain power over the other gods, because when there was a multitude of gods, no ONE god could become too strong. However, in this story, three gods banded together to create "God" and they did so through the Bible. Through the issue, we see them write and then do revisions on the Creation story. Very clever stuff. "Hmmm...no, I think we'll make Eve come from Adam's rib," stuff like that.

Meanwhile, this is paralleled by two people in the "real world," with the woman taking on the "Eve" role, as she convinces a computer programmer to create (and relase) a sentient program, therefore changing life on Earth as we know it - just like how the Garden of Eden was changed by the tasting of the forbidden fruit.

Very clever stuff.

All together, I thought this was an engaging story. I would recommend it without reservations, as you do not even need to have read the first five issues to pick up on the story.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

old saw: there's nothing clever about writing the same story twice with different trappings. Even analogies are not that hard if one takes free pick of the story to be referenced. If one also plays fast and loose with the "source" material to the point where it hardly deserves the name anymore, it really just telling the same story twice.

5/24/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Oh, sure, it's been done before.

Rarely, though, is it done well.

5/24/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Adam said...

old saw: there's nothing clever about writing the same story twice with different trappings. Even analogies are not that hard if one takes free pick of the story to be referenced. If one also plays fast and loose with the "source" material to the point where it hardly deserves the name anymore, it really just telling the same story twice.

yeah, but to make it relevant, and give it resonance, those are quite the feats. and if there's one thing that rushkoff has repeatedly proved during his first few years of being a pop culture theoretician, it's that he can make peewee herman and graffiti and ecstacy and the torah all resonate as one, and make it relevant to you and me.

so, yeah, high hopes for rushkoff and sharpe and TESTAMENT. do they pull it off? too early to tell, if you ask me. although, will be buying it in trades when they come out! buying it for a lot of people!

5/25/2006 07:51:00 AM  
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