Escape from Jesus Island #2 gives readers the details I longed for in Issue #1 while getting down and dirty about the severe ethical violations ReGen has engaged in its quest to resurrect Jesus. I began to understand why STAB was so eager to get onto Malsum Island and ferret out the truth while realizing it was far worse than the doomed, meddling kids could ever comprehend.
The issue starts with an interview with Anna and Cameron Thorne, the owners of ReGen Corp in 1999. Their callous dismissal of concerns for their cloning techniques made my skin crawl, and they clearly dismiss most of humanity as weak and flawed. When the couple discussed financing archeological digs to get ancient DNA, all I could think was “Velociraptors!” because Anna and Cameron would have no problem selling carnivorous dinosaurs as pets to unsuspecting people. The interview also shares ReGen’s personal and very selfish reasons for wanting to clone Jesus, but the remainder of the issue reveals that they’re not the only ones who want a personal miracle worker. The Pope is dying from a horrible disease, and he’s willing to face eternal damnation if kidnapping ReGen’s Jesus clone gives him more time on the mortal plane.
Shawn French dials back the ordinary horror factor in EFJI #2, but I like the added dose of medical and religious creep factor. The story has plenty of gore and violence, though; we just don’t get the body count of Issue #1. I vastly preferred this installment, because it delves into some of the things I found intriguing in the initial blurb. Anna is frighteningly beautiful and immoral, and the stories of both ReGen’s attempts to clone the Son of God and the Vatican’s desire to seize him kept me riveted. I only wish I had more of the tale to read!
The opening of Issue #2 answered some of my questions about the cast list at the beginning of both Volumes 1 and 2: Each installment of EFJI is being framed as a TV show being watched by the security guards who introduce the issue. Whether or not the characters are modeled on actual people remains a mystery to me, but the cast indicates who the creators had in mind during the creation process at very least.
Glum’s artwork continues to creep me out in this installment, but now I expect a certain degree of chills from just eyeballing the EFJI cover. I didn’t notice any hidden messages, but the majority of the action takes place in the sterile research labs of Malsum Island rather than the eerie tunnels where Damien and his crew of cannibalistic reject clones reign.
Escape from Jesus Island #2 began the story I wanted to see and took it places I never anticipated. I’m hoping that Damien and his followers will play a greater role in coming volumes, but I know there’s plenty of violence and action to go around. If Issue #1 didn’t scare you away, you must pick up #2, even if we still haven’t actually seen Jesus yet!
4.5 Attempts to Multiply a Loaf of Bread out of 5