I’m writing this review on Easter which is pretty weird. Battle Pope is an awesome, all-out action story, full of sex and violence, in which the Pope is a lead character and Jesus H. Christ Himself is the Pope’s little helper.
And it’s a great story – clever and funny and awfully damn sacrilegious, except that the sacrilege is both kind of the point and not at all the point. It’s as if Robert Kirkman watched Monty Python’s Life of Brian and wondered how he could take the Pythonesque humor and disrespect of the movie, added some violence, and ratcheted it up, early Image style. In some ways this story, in its cleverness and enthusiasm and brightness, seems to not be sacrilegious, but just a wild and wooly action story.
At the same time, the insolence kind of is the point. After all, the United States has become a country of political correctness, where the religious right, mostly a group of inflexible, humorless ideologues, helps to set the national agenda, and where the religious see themselves constantly at war against unbelievers and those who would knock them out of their majority power role. Having a cigar-smoking, alcoholic, womanizing, muscle-bound pope fighting with a scrawny and wimpy Jesus by his side has got to tweak those who try to set the morality for the rest of us.
Reading this comic on Easter Sunday is liberating, exciting, and fun. This book presents early Robert Kirkman, long before Invincible. And it’s early Tony Moore, so don’t expect the brilliant art of Fear Agent. But the energy, energy and heady feel of this comic carries it a long way. The Battle Pope kicks ass.