What if one day God came back? And instead of being the benevolent, loving, caring God that organized religion makes him out to be nowadays, he was the living embodiment of the angry, vengeful, and merciless God that is portrayed in the old testament of the bible? He’s also deviously brilliant and a bit insane by human standards. That is what Clive Barker and Mark Miller’s Next Testament (which went through a plethora of name changes before going to print) is asking every issue. The comic seems to be co-written by both parties. Clive Barker is the main reason I started reading this comic; I have always been a huge fan of his writing style. And this comic is a different beast, but still part of the gold mine of Barker’s terrifying mind.
In this comic, God has been summoned back to Earth. He is angry at humanity for a plethora of reasons. Oh, and God’s skin looks like paint spilled all over him in fluidly coalescing colors. So, to begin with, in this issue, God’s divinely righteous judgment is in full effect, and how does a vengeful deity begin to show his power? By making every plane fall out of the sky simultaneously to wreck and kill any and all of the passengers aboard, just for the hell of it. I truly love the way Barker and Miller have decided to portray the deity in this comic. As I stated at the beginning of this review, God… is kind of dick, but in an almost relatable way. God wants to bring back the old ways of living, to thin out the weak and evil and get man to stop being so reliant on technology, which. at the end of the issue, becomes somewhat of a reality.
The main characters of the comic are a couple that are so forgettable I sometimes forget they exist, and, when they pop back up, I’m like, oh right, them again. In fact most of the human characters are completely eclipsed by the character of God. I could probably spend so much of this review just talking about that character, so I urge the readers to check it out themselves and see what I’m talking about. After the events of the plane crash, the couple have somehow miraculously survived and they make it to a town and plan a trip to Rhode Island for some unexplained reason. Meanwhile, God is searching for “The new Rome.” The man who summoned him and has become his follower/slave (who also happens to be the father of the male main character) suggests Hollywood, which I thought was a cliché choice, but you know who else did? God. He was thoroughly unhappy with “The new Rome” so he killed everyone in it. I don’t want to ruin the end of this issue, because it’s really devious and evil in a way. But also if you look at it from a different perspective of how humans actually live today, its quite philosophical and truthful at the roots of its message.
Since issue #1 of Next Testament I’ve been completely engrossed into the story of this comic as well as all the somewhat philosophical and religious ideals presented in it. It is also a finite series of 11 issues, so right now as of issue #4, I have a lot of lingering questions that I hope get answered by the final issue. The art of the comic, handled by Haemi Jang, whose art, truthfully, I’ve never seen any of before this, does great and interesting work for this comic. The design of God, as I stated earlier, is truly a glorious spectacle to behold, and never in a million years would I think to portray a deity as such, but it’s an awesome design and it works. It perfectly captures his deviously omnipotent personality.
Even so I wish I could say more about it, but honestly, most of the art takes a back seat to the story for me so far, and because of that, I think this comic will end up delivering on every level once it kicks into high gear and we near the apex of the finale. For now though, the first 4 issues have been a really solid start.