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The Confessional Special Edition
By Lee O'Connor and Chris McCay
Published by Warpton Comics

ADD: The potential of independent comics is virtually limitless. As Harvey Pekar has said, comics are just words and pictures, and you can do anything with words and pictures. So at their very best, independent comics, free of corporate interests and editorial control, should represent the most vivid and visceral storytelling possible from creators looking to accurately translate their creativity into an artform capable of profoundly affecting those who experience it. Creators like Chester Brown, James Kochalka and Paul Hornschemeier have shown what achievements are possible. Then, there's works like The Confessional, which show what happens when today's ease of publishing intersects with creators with little to say but an itch to say it anyway.

CA: Warpton's press material shows them to be a little different than other independent publishers, and it's hard to tell if that's good or bad. They profess to want to help unknown creators bring their stories to life, which is great, but then it goes on to say that they go so far as to help develop an idea into a script. I'm not sure what that entails, nor how much of a cut Warpton then takes for their trouble. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and just deal with what I know. The Confessional is one of those one-shots-outta-nowhere by a writer and artist just about professional enough to parlay it into forgettable work from some big publishers. Yes, we may soon find these two wasting their energies on AQUAMAN: GILLS GONE WILD, but Alan, at least this book wants to be about something.

The story is about Satan wishing to unburden himself by appearing in confessional before a priest. He's had enough of being "The Adversary", enough of this label that God placed upon him, when he was only doing what he was created to do when he was cast out. He was the Lightbringer, and his job was to show people the harsh light of Truth, even about Heaven, and for this he was cast out.

This is all fine but well-trod ground until we get the first twist, which is that this burden is so great that Satan wants to end his life, so that he may once more enter The Silver City (Heaven) again. What "life" is to him, and how he would avoid just being kicked out again, isn't clear, but then O'Connor didn't exactly think this story through, did he? This becomes especially problematic with the twist at the end, which doesn't work, nor does it make much sense.

ADD: I'm sure there's still fresh storytelling territory to be mined from monotheism, but after Alan Moore (in Swamp Thing), and Neil Gaiman and then Mike Carey (in Lucifer the character and comic), I personally am bored to tears with angels and demons and Satan and all that. So if you're going to use this ancient myth as the basis for your storytelling, what I'm saying here is you better have something unique to say, and you better say it well. The Confessional doesn't accomplish either, instead bringing mere competence to the table, and barely, at that.

CA: I liked the art well enough, which had something of a Charles Vess feel in some spots, and I appreciate that at least the story was ambitious and entertaining throughout. Unfortunately, while a writer shouldn't really concern himself with what the other guy's doing, you're quite correct that some of the best comics writers of all time have covered this ground, and a very strong writer himself, Carey, is doing it monthly right now. And while The Confessional isn't bad, it just doesn't have anything so special one should seek it out.

ADD: On the other hand, it does serve as a published work that the creators can shop around to editors at the corporate comics companies, and actually, Chris, I think putting these two on Aquaman would be just about a perfect fit. From the overwrought computer-assisted cover to the overlong story about nothing to the utterly ineffective "twist" ending, these creators are clearly ready to start maintaining trademarks for the Big Two. I say more power to 'em.

The ADD Blog by Alan David Doane. Trouble with Comics Reviews of comics and graphic novels. Commentary about the artform and industry of comics. Get back to the main page.

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