Church of One
Pencils and Inks by Ray Riber
Colors by Christa Rosenkranz
Script by Andrew Zar, Wintress Odom, and Stephanie Hashagen
Music by Gregg Rossetti
Starring Tabitha Stevens as Holly
Starring Tony Campos as Sal
Starring Raylene as Candice
If I can offer one piece of advice to you about Church of One, it would be to never read this comic around your local church, elementary school, or playground. When the cover page of Church of One read “˜Mature Readers Only,’ I assumed it was playful hyperbole. Boy, was I wrong. With all of its gratuitous sex and violence, the latest title from DarkBrain.com is most certainly for mature readers only. It isn’t all carnal pleasures though. Church of One is also a fairly compelling action-thriller.
I know what you are thinking, “˜a web comic that has voice narration and original music, featuring famous porn stars? God help us all.’ I know this because I thought the exact same thing. I approached Church of One ready to roll my eyes so frequently and aggressively that they would probably melt out of my sockets, a la Raiders of the Lost Ark. The content in this comic is not going to win an Eisner anytime soon. However, it did surprise me with evenly paced and thoughtful storytelling.
Church of One follows Holly, the Councilor of the Church of Divine Associates – a group of religious fanatics whose pastor has just been brutally murdered. The rest of the story connects Holly with the lead detective on the case Sal and his partner Candice. It has the working of a typical mystery/action comic with several reveals that enhanced the overall story.
Church of One has solid artwork that is great for web comics, but very average for mainstream graphic novels. If you were to read this comic in its web format, the shift in art and style would probably come naturally. However, reading it all as one cohesive story, the shift is jarring and left me wondering why characters looked drastically different from chapter to chapter. Overall though Church of One avoids lazy inking and sloppy pencils that sometimes plague lesser web comics.
Reading Church of One is really a matter of if you want to read a comic with tons of sex and porn star proportioned heroines. If you are looking for a murder mystery comic, sure you could pick up Church of One. But you should probably pick up something by Ed Brubaker instead.