"There will come a grand reaping. Death, the pale horseman, will ride" - Darrel
Sam Winters, aged 12, is taken by his would be girlfriend and her father to the local church, Sam has never been before. Unfortunately for Sam the church turns out to be one of those fundamental affairs with sermons dedicated to the sinful world and the likely consequences for mankind. Apparently seals are breaking at an alarming rate and the righteous will be called upon. Paraphrasing here, doom and brimstone in other words, though strangely Sam seems to be taken in by the whole performance of Reverend Darrel.
In the present Detective Daniels wakes up in a moonlight cemetery, having been abducted by the caped Crusader of mayhem. There follows a slight disagreement on religious doctrine, Daniels wants the Angel of Death to surrender peacefully, while our boy believes he is on a mission from God. Clearly there's not going to be a lot of room for compromise. We return to the past and Sam Winters is now sixteen and still on the straight and narrow, but that looks to be about to change as the book ends with Sam and his girlfriend being confronted by the local bullies.
We're just past the halfway mark of Winter City and the graphic novel is starting to unleash it's secrets, the plot turns hinted at, and how the major characters are placed in terms of each other and the possible resolution. The Purcell brothers have their pieces firmly position on the board and are now setting up the end game, though I suspect we might just be in for a few more revelations prior to the weight challenged sheila letting loose. It's been something of a roller coaster of a ride, in terms of thrills and spills, so I would suggest everyone go back and read from the beginning as Book Seven presents something of a lull before a Biblically inspired storm is unleashed in the next few issues.
There's two story arcs in this Book that are going to be vital in understand what we have read thus far and what is going to be coming at us in future releases. While not all the answers are laid out in a roadmap to full understanding of the overall graphic novel, the Purcell's certainly with this book set things up in intriguing fashion. The whip is certainly going to come down shortly and I'm starting to develop full sympathy for our Angel of Death, who sort of fits the Dexter mode, without the dark passenger thing going down. Is the Caped one all about revenge? Quite possibly, but Detective Daniels just might be called on to step out of his comfort zone on this one as the scope of the Angel's activities seem to be expanding, or at least that was my understanding after reading Safety In The Sanctum Of God for the third time.
Detective Daniels is of course following police procedure and wants the Angel of Death to surrender without more violence involved. Daniels might agree with current wisdom regarding the victims deserving what they get, but his code of conduct still guides his actions. Unfortunately for Daniels the Angel believes that he has a major role to play in the future, which should prove interesting. For the sharp eyed it's worth noting the names on a gravestone, major clue there for us and for Daniels if he can pick up on it. Are the Purcell's taking a leaf out of Saw's playbook and leaving the characters to work it out for themselves? One assumes Daniels is good at his job ergo next Issue should prove interesting in terms of motivations.
There's always been an element of old time Christian fire and brimstone in this graphic novel, and we finally get the full monty from the Angel himself. In time honoured psychopathic fashion the Angel believes he is the hand of God, dispensing retribution for any sin committed by an individual in a fundamental tsunami of violence. Admittedly there's a bit of confusion from the Angel on the Biblical front, apparently he is preparing for the second coming of the Lamb of God, however Jesus Christ was the name of a prophet, ergo not the first coming. I don't get the feeling that the Angel is either Jewish or Muslim, ergo who was the first coming? As stated more revelations headed our way. For the Biblically minded the second coming of course heralds the end times in the Christian faith with Armageddon on the horizon.
While Safety In The Sanctum Of God certainly delves into the whole "deliver unto Caesar" thing in the here and now it also flashes back to Sam Winters getting that old time religion. While we are not talking speaking in tongues or handling snakes we are not far off that level of fundamentalism. Considering that Sam attended the local fundo festival of warped visions from the age of 12 to 16 at least, the picture (no pun intended) that emerges is that Sam was wholly indoctrinated by Reverend Darrel's spiel. Of course if we were a critic site I could mention the whole concept of family that the church provides Sam, but let's not go there. All we need to know is Sam is taking onboard the religious teachings of fringe Christianity.
While the script for Book Seven is certainly working like a brought one, that ending bodes well for the next instalment, the artwork is once again kicking a winner with pale bluish tones and a sort of Gotham city look. The panels do exactly what they should do, illustrate the script while having a wow factor element that will keep you turning the pages. Pablo Verdugo Munoz certainly shows an Americas style, which he should since that's where he is working from, but also wraps it in the individuality needed to make the art a real winner in Winter City. I'd love to see Munoz tackle a haunted house script based on his work here, the dude sure is talented and once again proves to be a perfect fit to the Purcell Bros story lines. I'm actually out of space here, so will focus on the artwork when we get to discussing issue eight of this novel.
There's a requirement in any large graphic novel to take a break from the action and colour in the details prior to launching a full scale assault on the reader with the final resolution. Safety In The Sanctum Of God fulfils this requirement while adding a touch more intrigue to the mix and perhaps pointing to a few more surprises coming our way. I'm a huge fan of this graphic novel which is turning into an incredibly epic journey, it's sort of a superhero by way of horror thing which should appease most readers, what's not to like! Book seven continues the excellent groundwork laid down by the first half of the novel and points to some cool things coming in the second half. If you haven't got into this book yet than I would suggest you make it an immediate priority, what else have you got to do this summer besides torturing those Christmas carollers you have tied up in your spare bedroom? Full recommendation on this issue and the entire graphic novel, a required read for anyone trawling in the dark genre, and I got to say definitely worth the investment for general comic book fans.
Winter City's site has had something of a makeover and is looking pretty cool. You can purchase Book Seven for the outstandingly good price of $4.99 right here, and if you haven't already then you can also purchase any back issues you might have missed picking up. For those new to the whole Winter City thing, Issues 1 & 2 are available to read online, now how awesome is that! Be careful the website does give out the occasional spoiler however, don't get caught up in reading the description yo!