Jesus Hates Zombies: Yea, Though I Walk, Vol. 1
Featuring Lincoln Hates Werewolves
Written & Lettered by Stephen Lindsay
Art by Steve Cobb
Cover by Danilo Beyruth
Cover price: $7.95; Available Sept. 2008
I first encountered Jesus Hates Zombies nearly a year ago, when I was asked to review the original Jesus Hates Zombies… and Sasquatch for the final chapter of The Great Zombie Roundup. Looking back at what I wrote then, I see that I struggled with the concept. I thought that the story idea had merit, and that some of the dialog showed great ironic edge (Jesus: “Ever ask yourself “˜how the hell did I get here?'”). With benefit of hindsight, I see that it was too brief of a story to know if Jesus Hates Zombies could fulfill its potential.
Now, nearly a year later, I can definitively say that Jesus Hates Zombies takes a long slow look at its potential and kicks its ass! With a darker, more brooding visual sense (thanks to art by Steve Cobb) and more salty dialog from Stephen Lindsay, this is light years beyond what I read before. This book grabbed me at “hello” and did not let go for forty more pages.
The basic plot for Jesus Hates Zombies remains unchanged. Jesus is sent back to an Earth stuck in the middle of a Zombie plague, not to save souls, but to save asses. A small group of true believers still exists in the world and Jesus must find them. Until he does, he is essentially powerless… and has to end the plague one zombie at a time with his trusty baseball bat, Samson.
This particular story finds Jesus and his faithful Zombie sidekick Laz stuck in the middle of a large city with no idea where to go. Enter the Archangel Gabriel, sent by “Dad” to point Jesus in the right direction. Gabriel does this, but he alienates Laz and ends up getting himself bitten by a zombie. An Archangel bitten by a zombie?!? Oh, that can’t be good… but I’ll leave it up to you to find out the rest.
Inter-cut with Jesus Hates Zombies is Lincoln Hates Werewolves. It’s 1862. The nation is wracked by Civil War. The great forests of the Union are also full of lycanthropes, summoned up by a mysterious figure in a dark cloak. Honest Abe knows about both problems. Saving the nation from secessionitis is his day job; saving innocents from werewolves and fighting that cloaked figure keeps him up all night.
The two stories unfold in parallel to good effect. Where Jesus appears to often be edgy and dynamic in how he acts and moves, Abe is the soul of stoic stillness. Where Jesus often jumps off roofs or pushes off walls, Abe’s feet remain firmly planted on the ground, looking more and more like a monument. The contrast gives the combined story a sense of pace and tempo that might otherwise be missing.JHZ: Yea, Though I Walk (Vol. 1) concludes with some cool extras: a short extra Lincoln Hates Werewolves story drawn by John Ruiz, a series of pinups for both JHZ and LHW by various artists, and some work by Lauren Monardo (artist on Jesus Hates Zombies: Those Slack Jaw Blues) for Yea, Though I Walk, completed before she and Stephen Lindsay got distracted by the upcoming The Slightly Askew Adventures of Inspector Ham & Eggs. The extras are all cool, but the contrast between the panels created by Ms. Monardo and Mr. Cobb show how different artists breathe life into a story in unique ways.
Jesus Hates Zombies: Yea, Though I Walk, Vol. 1 is a fun, kinetic, enjoyable read. With its lean ironic prose and strong visual sense, it blends comedy and action with a heavy dose of irreverence. The resulting concoction keeps your eyes jumping from one page to the next… until, sadly, it all seems over too soon. Fortunately, three more volumes await and I can’t wait to read them!