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Chronicles of Wormwood #2

Posted: Monday, March 26, 2007
By: Bruce Logan



"Holy Orders"

Writer: Garth Ennis
Artists: Jacen Burrows, Andrew Dalhouse (colors)

Publisher: Avatar Press


Ah, good old father-son "moments." Who doesn’t love them? The father, both realizing the folly of (some of) his past actions and wanting to make up for them and trying to get close to his son for something important (at least to a few people), extends the proverbial olive branch, which the son stomps on soon enough. More than a little peeved at dead ol’ dad, the son wants nothing to do with the old man or whatever it is that he needs this time around. Got the mental picture? Now the father is the big man himself, not the one from up above but the one from down under (no, not Australia), Satan, and the son is none other than the fruit of his loins, the Antichrist or for the purpose of this series, Danny Wormwood. An Englishman as the Uber-Spawn of Satan, eh? No wonder things end up the way they did in Hellgate: London.

While the major part of this issue is devoted to Danny’s "meeting" with Daddy Dearest and the how it weighs on his thoughts afterwards, there is another big development here. Not big per say in the main plot but big in Danny’s current "personal" setup. However, that doesn’t come until towards the end of the issue, after the father-son meeting and especially after the parody of the parody issue opening. Reminiscent of the Pope from Robert Kirkman’s Battle Pope, the Pope in Chronicles of Wormwood is a rather "outgoing" fellow from the land from down under, and this time I do mean Australia. As for the outgoing part, not only is he that in the physical sense, he doesn’t lay off on the verbal part too, which, given this is a Garth Ennis story, is expected. In fact, one might even say that Garth even goes a bit easy with the Pope. Well, other than "mentioning" both the previous Pope and the current one (who is the predecessor of the one in the comic), having the Pope get a voluntary non-medical prostate examination, having him put a subordinate (who questions him) in place with the Cardinal's own actions with certain "junior" members of the church. I could go on, but will stop with a warning to anyone with sensitive religious sentiments. Have fun guys.

I first came across Jacen Burrows’s name and artwork in another Ennis story, 303 and through its length I grew familiar with it. Although his backgrounds tend to be sparse (unless the situation calls for them), Burrrows more than makes up for it in the character department. Be it the peaceful semi-vegetative (thanks to the L.A.P.D.) Jay or the sheer presence of Satan or even Danny’s devil may care (or in his case, "dad may care") attitude, it all comes across with nary a trouble. As for the colors, over the last few years the name Andrew Dalhouse has become synonymous to me with Avatar Press and its titles/characters. From Lady Death to The Living Dead to Chronicles of Wormwood, Dalhouse has done them all, and although I am still holding out for him to bring some brightness, some flash to Lady Death and co., I am 100% sold on his take on The Living Dead (Night, Plague, etc.) and now also on this title. I hope to see more of both him and Burrows in the coming months.

Conclusion: Thank God, I mean, Satan that Danny took Jimmy with him. Who knows what would have happened to the, uh, "cute" talking rabbit. Why? Well, thanks to a scorned France (Joan of Arc), Danny’s little English-American alliance just came to a rather abrupt and if I might say so, colorful expletive filled, ending. So much for the "Coalition of the Willing."

You can find more reviews by Bruce Logan at www.xcave.net



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