Battle Pope

     Of what use is a beautifully wrapped package of sewage?

     Battle Pope (Funk-O-Tron Publishing) is a new comic book that answers that question. Its art is outstanding. Its content stinks.

     Its best use is as landfill.

     The premise of Battle Pope is simple. A Pope who has committed every atrocity imaginable stands in judgment before God to receive a commission to fight against the creature he emulates, Satan. His sidekick is to be that 'inept' Son of God, Jesus Christ.

     Ignorance is no defense of his excesses because the writer of Pope understands the principles that he trashes. Save your breath if you would claim the exaggeration of satire or the broad brush of parody as justification. Satire seeks Truth as well as yaks, and the only goal of parody is laughter. Battle Pope falls far short of anything approaching humor or truth.

     Christians will find Battle Pope blasphemous. Most other readers will find its graphic sex, violence and profanity tasteless, excessive and unentertaining.

     The best scenario is this pretty package won't be found at all.

     Review by Michael Vance

Dark Matter

     Of what use is a comic book without an artist?

     Dark Matters (Dark Star Comics) is illustrated by Steve Kirkland "who cannot draw to save his life". He creates or manipulates computer art to visually tell his story much like some people cut and paste images from magazines to produce a montage.

     Regrettably, this approach has a internal logic that is interesting and works on many levels, but will leave some people unsatisfied.

     Yes, gentle reader, Dark Matters' packaging is somewhat unappealing. But its content shines. This Kirkland guy can write.

     Kirkland chronicles seemingly unconnected human dramas tied to a vast, supernatural force that is symbolized by the illuminated face of a clock tower and the moon. He does so with an intricate, wholly believable plot and intriguing characterizations that captivate.

     Dark Matter is a page turner and a rough-edged gem that will entertain readers who don't obsess over polished art.

     Review by Michael Vance