“For the Former Things are Passed Away”
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Jacen Burrows
Publisher: Avatar Press
Why are you even reading this?
Wormwood is a Garth Ennis book about – or at least largely about – religion. Furthermore, this is the final issue of the first series. Shouldn’t you already know if you want to read it or not? But SBC's editor told me to review Wormwood #6, so I’m reviewing Wormwood #6.
There seem to be two Garth Ennises. Ennises. Ennisi. Whatever… there are two Garths.
Garth #1 is Garth at his best; he offers up biting social commentary disguised as dick jokes.
Garth #2 is Garth not at his best; he offers up dick jokes disguised as biting social commentary.
Wormwood has been brought to you by Garth #2.
Even Garth #1 doesn’t offer up innovative commentary, just biting commentary. Take Preacher, which was clearly written by Garth #1. To suggest that religion and hypocrisy are responsible for much of the world’s ills is hardly a startling revelation to anyone with eyes and common sense. But at least Garth #1 says something about issues too many creators – artists with a little “a” – ignore. That’s the thing about Art; it’s supposed to make you think, even if it just makes you think about things you have been – or should have been – already thinking about.
Garth #1 is an Artist. Preacher is Art. ‘Nuff said.
Wormwood, on the other hand, has been written by Garth #2. So far we’ve seen a mad, fornicating pope, a brain dead Jesus, a mostly nice Anti-Christ, and a masturbating God. Not the god of masturbation, mind you, but Yahweh knowing himself biblically.
It all sounds like Garth on cruise control – throw in some sex with the pope and label it social commentary. It’s all too easy.
Wormwood #6 is more of the same. When we left our heroes at the end of issue #5, Wormwood and his faithful bunny buddy were in Hell facing Satan, who had kidnapped J.C. Satan plays his ace in the hole, revealing that God was on his side.
As issue #6 opens, Wormwood refuses to be their pawn, but Satan surprises him with another pocketed ace – the purloined Messiah, who begs his friend to kill him even if it would result in Armageddon.
The situation gets resolved with a deus ex machina – if it’s appropriate to use that term here – that will leave you scratching your head. Why would Satan place Wormwood in a situation where he would have the power to defeat him? And isn’t Satan powerful enough to extricate himself from a – well, that would be telling.
Speaking of telling, in the book’s final scene, Ennis reprises a visual joke from Preacher. That’s awfully telling. Garth #2 is just going through the motions, drawing on his old bag of tricks.
Bottom line: Wormwood #6 is like every other issue of the series: a whole bunch of dick jokes with lots of cheap shots at religion in general and Christianity in particular. In other words, it’s great stuff.
What? Hey, Ennis at less than his best is better than most of the rest, and God is indeed a wanker.
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