Images & Realities (1995)
WRITER/ARTIST: Dale McNeal
A troubled pastor seeks wisdom in the Word Of God and when he has trouble understanding calls upon Jesus himself. He is transformed and shown a vision of Satan’s fall, the fall of man, and the arrival of Jesus through his resurrection, the main focus of the telling. Now filled with understanding demons arise outside his home ready to stop him from spreading God’s word.
What they got right: Conceptually I like it, not only as a reader but as a Christian myself. The story is told from a superhero-like, Masters of The Universe-ish style, which is certainly a new take and one that if done right could work. For an independent work promoting Christian beliefs the art isn’t that bad (though I could nitpick a panel or two) and the character designs work for what the creator is intending to go for.
What they got wrong: Sadly the execution leaves something to be desired. The flowery prose of the narration is what hurts the most. There’s a reason not everyone chooses the King James text and this wouldn’t work well with the regular comic reader, even if they read Thor at the time. I compared it to Masters Of The Universe but even the Gene Colan minicomics, which used something close to this type of speech (and is my favorite version of the He-Man mythos), knew how to speak like this. The page layout seems to either be forced into typical comic size or was intended to have big words and phrases of praise at the bottom and it just takes up too much space on the page, with nothing at the top despite being the same size as the praise space on the bottom, and they’re just one or two word statements that may not feel like much to non-Christians. As a Christian it felt like a distraction. Let the praise work within the story.
The other big problem is that the story feels rushed. The story is in a hurry to get through Satan’s early history and right to Jesus, and then rushes through that story, not really using the concept to its full potential. The teaser for the second issue that never happened talks about the apostles, which I assume would be the subject of the next book but how would it relate to the now sword-wielding pastor (your missing the rest of the Armor Of God) being besieged by demons. The worst part about this is that as a spiritual teaching tool it doesn’t really have a chance to get the message out properly while giving a story that falls short of using the concept to create a fascinating take on spiritual battle between Heaven and Hell.
Recommendation: If you’re going to pick this up, do so for the concept alone. There is potential here that it unfortunately fails to live up to thanks to the speed it runs through and the prose it uses. I want to recommend it because I really like the idea but sadly this could have been done so much better than it was with more time to breathe and let the story and the Word get time to make something good.