Sex, politics, religion. The big three topics to avoid in conversations. And, probably not coincidentally, these are the three big topics in Testament.
Douglas Rushkoff’s comic book is all about the unknown, the things not spoken about. It’s about the mysteries that lie directly below the mundane, the facts behind the things that we think we understand but which we actually have no idea as to their complexity. We think we understand the government, but it has its own unspeakably evil plans. We think we understand God and the Old Testament and familiar Bible stories. But it turns out that there’s more complexity in those stories than we’d like to believe.
This is an exciting comic book because it knocks readers out of our comfort zones. We’d like to think we’re in familiar surroundings, but everything has a depth and complexity that forces readers to think about those surroundings in different ways. Readers are familiar with the scene where the evil government agents try to control and probe the brains of those who serve them. But the robots, it’s implied, have a somewhat different agenda, a different approach to the world. That is only implied to this point in the comic, but will it be a red herring or turn into something even larger? Knowing Rushkoff’s style so far in this series, we can expect the unexpected.
Issue four introduces a new element into the story. Previously everything in the present seemed to come back to a basic element of the government versus some rebellious teenagers who were trying to avoid the reinstated draft by any means necessary. But suddenly in this issue we meet the mysterious Mr. Fallow, who seems to be the power behind the throne in this bizarre society. Mr. Fallow is a perfectly handsome man living in some bizarre place that looks like the Garden of Eden, in which beautiful naked people take part in endless orgies and in which there are great statues of the gods of ancient times. Who is this man? What is his agenda? Is he the true driving force behind what’s happened in this story? The story seems to come together a little bit with Mr. Fallow in place, but does it really? Would Rushkoff set up such as basic battle of good versus evil by putting Fallow’s world parallel with that of Sodom and Gomorrah?
I feel a bit frustrated that it took until the fourth issue to introduce Mr. Fallow. I have to wonder if I missed some of the hints that Rushkoff might have left in previous issues about his presence. If I didn’t miss it, the lack of foreshadowing is a weakness of this story.
With each issue, I’ve continued to praise the work of Liam Sharp, and once again he does a terrific job with this issue. The depth of grittiness of both the Biblical and present-day worlds is stiking – things have got to be rough for all the characters in this comic.
So another really solid issue of this intriguing comic. I deduct a little for not showing Mr. Fallow sooner, but that may not be a problem when the TPB collects the whole storyline.