The first thing that caught my attention from Modern Testament Vol. 2: Anthology of the Etheral was the theme: monsters. Thoughtfully summed up in the epilogue and the throughout the book as a whole, otherworldly creatures were the subject matter that thrived through these three contained stories.
The first story titled “Schoolyard Monster” is about a young boy named Joseph who is being questioned by the police after one of his fellow students is found dead. But this murdered student is, well, was a bully to Joseph named Rudy, always repeating the same gas lighting tactics that most bullies use on their victims. That is until one day, a creature arises from the mud Rudy shoves his victim into, and the sloppy mess evolves into something of a protector for Joseph. However, it seems that not all protectors are as clear-thinking as humans are, and this particular stoic mud critter has a different approach. The art by Adrian Crassmaru is more sketch-like with nice color saturation, and the viewpoint of Joseph is raw and honest. His remarks towards the end made me skippy because they differ from the typical bullying story, and truthfully seem more realistic than the white picket fence and happy ending script we’ve seen time and time again.
Our middle child story is “The Great Hunt”, which first introduces us to two explorers speaking to the owner of what seems to be a local hunting store. The owner, a rough-around-the-edges woman who doesn’t seem too fond of the hunters, tries to warn them of their quest to find strange and unusual creatures. Neither the female nor the male explorer waver at the woman’s warnings, and continue in their vehicle on the search for an animal that catches their eye. Seemingly fed up with the day turning up nothing, the two start arguing about the choice to even venture away from home at all, and it was here that I noticed what seems to be a spelling error, writing “I’d” instead of “It’d”. It was distracting, but after reading on they finally meet what they came for, with an obvious twist because who needs a happy ending? Boo happy endings. This story was really not as great as I expected it to be, though I did like the ending. The woman who talks to our two explorers has an accent that requires a lot of apostrophes, which can be hard to read, and there was definitely not enough detail or depth. However, the monster in the story was a great rendering, and Igor Chakal’s artwork was nicely complimented by Stanislau Leonau’s colors, so they get some points back.
Bringing up the ending is “What Is He Good For? (Absolutely Nothing)” which is a pretty clever title, and good gumdrops do I love a clever title. This one sets the scene with a man at a bar on a cruise surrounded by happy and Hollywood-esque people, complete with good bodies and a shining sun. After he tries to reject a drink bought by another man, he discovers that this stranger he first thought was hitting on him is actually War in human form. War knows all about the startled man’s service, hinting at his prosthetic leg. The two keep conversing, and the physical embodiment of War has some abstract ideas on human beings, which throws a bit of philosophy into this story, a definite good point. But War does what it (he, I guess, in this situation?) is best at, and the man has to come up with a solution to stop him.The artwork by Noreus Teves is simply done, and colored just as simple by Laura Ruggeri, and I found myself wishing that an abstract tale about this subject matter was done grittier with heavier use of black.
As previously mentioned, the epilogue was a great bit to sum the book up, and you can see the work Frank Martin went into writing. Even though all three of the stories are short, I do wish there was more detail in the last two stories. All three are good in concept, but “Schoolyard Monster” definitely takes the prize for the best and most well-rounded tale. The concept that these are Biblical beings in a modern time is a great one, and you can definitely see the imagination in them. However, I wanted more, so I’m giving this one a 3 out of 5 stars.
Written/Created by Frank Martin
Cover by Jonathan Rector
Letters by Kel Nuttal
Interior Pinup Art by Brett Uren
Illustrations by Adrian “Crisuadi” Crasmaru
“The Great Hunt”
Art by Igor Chakal
Colors by Stanislav Leonov
“What is He Good For? (Absolutely Nothing)”
Art by Noreus Teves
Colors by Laura Ruggeri
Publisher: Insane Comics