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Therefore Repent!

by Jim Munroe; Salgood Sam, illus.

With his new graphic novel project, writer and DIY publishing pioneer Jim Munroe builds on the events of the Book of Revelation to create a bold and imaginative new world. This is by no means the same terrain mined by the Left Behind series; Munroe’s post-Rapture America is a land of covert magic, of Splitters (believers in a Split Rapture, who hope there will be a second Rapture for those who perform good acts in the dark days following the first), and of strike forces of Angels, air-dropping from heaven, heavily armed to mop up in the time of tribulation.

The story focuses on Mummy and Raven, lovers and drifters (he’s the one with the wrapped face, she’s the one with the raven mask) who arrive in Chicago and take up residence in an abandoned apartment. (“Finding prime squats got a whole lot easier after the Rapture,” one character quips.) As they explore the neighbourhood, they discover that everything is not as bucolic as it first appears; the talking dog is just the first sign.

The art, by DC and Marvel veteran Maxim Douglas (working under the name Salgood Sam), is realistic and minimally stylized. The stark black and white palette adds a noir feel to the book, which nicely underscores Munroe’s text and grounds his greater flights of fancy. There are a couple of gasp-inducing panels late in the book – ever wonder what happened to those people who got Raptured? I’m not going to spoil the surprise – but the art is generally unassuming.

The same can’t be said for Munroe’s writing. Therefore Repent! is an absolutely boundless piece of fantasy that he wisely grounds in very human relationships, chiefly that between Mummy and Raven (and their new dog). To say it’s an imaginative work would be an understatement: “unhinged” is probably more accurate. I can’t wait for more.