When I received the list of Image titles to review, I picked Miniature Jesus based solely on the title. I mean how can you not review a book called Miniature Jesus. I figured only a book worth its salt could get away with calling itself that. I was right.
Miniature Jesus evokes an odd combination of Hellboy and the work of R. Crumb. That is if Crumb or Hellboy occasionally waxed into mind-blowingly realistic detail, a style that reaches past the ether into the bizarre. I am not a fan of photorealistic art in comics, but it is so well integrated with the stylized elements in this book that McKeever has made a believer out of me. I am going to come out and say this is the best use of value I have seen in a comic book in years, period.
If not evident from my previous reviews, I really enjoy the first issue of a comic book. The first issue is the one that has to set the stage and grab me within the first few pages, the first impression, and it is important for any comic to do well with that first impression.
While the art of the book stirs a deeply disturbing, yet fascinating, part of my brain (a decaying feline and a shoulder demon especially so), art cannot carry a bad story and will even struggle under the burdens of a mediocre one. Luckily, McKeever (He wrote and illustrated the book, props for that.) delivers.
The story sets up two separate storylines that are seemingly destined to interconnect, yet the book leaves the how and when up in the air. Religious symbolism is everywhere, and yet it does not overwhelm, much the way Mignola manages this in his Hellboy books. The book seems like a standard fever dream, where the protagonist is hallucinating, but, as the book ended, I found myself pleasantly confused.
This is not a title for the weak willed or weak stomached. It deals with heavy themes like alcoholism and the nature of faith. In particular, the racy language and disturbing content won’t sit well with the kiddies or the easily offended. Viewer discretion is advised. (Always wanted to say that.)
Unless you are in the aforementioned groups, read this book. I know I will. It is starting out fantastically, and if McKeever can keep it up, it is looking to be a fantastically weird romp into the nature of faith, recovery, and redemption. And, it is freaking beautiful.