Publish date: December 31, 2013 Publisher: BOOM! Studios
This week, I’m taking a look at the first issue of Boom Studios’ new mini-series, Revelations. The first thing I learned was that this is NOT, in fact, a new mini-series at all, having been published back in 2005 by Dark Horse. I considered for a moment looking for something else to review, as I’m never sure what to say about reprints, but then I thought, “I’ve never heard of this before, and I’m a serious comic book geek, so there’s a chance that it may be unfamiliar to my readers as well.” So, here we are.
The second thing that I discovered about this is that it’s really fantastic. I love mysteries, but I find that, for some reason, comic books rarely pull them off successfully. This issue flies defiantly in the face of that expectation and basically demolishes it. I also, like the main character of this book, adore conspiracy theories, and this looks like it’s gonna be a hot one.
If my memory is right, the original publication date of 2005 places this right about dead center in the great Da Vinci Code furor, and I can definitely see where this title was inspired by that more popular work. There are certainly similarities—mainly that the protagonist is on the outs with organized religion and the church is shown in a less than complimentary light—but the two works also vary in some important ways. The most salient of these differences exists in the hero himself. Whereas Professor Robert Langdon from the Dan Brown novels is a successful and respected individual, Detective Charlie Northern is a chain-smoking loser who hasn’t seen his best friend in fifteen years.
As much as I liked the Dan Brown books and admired his protagonist—and let’s be honest, he was designed to be likable—I identify with and relate to Charlie Northern much more. Robert Langdon has a life full of accomplishments and accolades that most of us will never match. There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of characters. Some of history’s greatest heroes, both real and imagined, exhibit similar unattainable, god-like attributes, from Batman and James Bond to James T. Kirk and even Jesus. Part of their appeal is that they give us all something to strive toward. Charlie Northern, though…heck, I might already have this guy beat! All he’s really got going for him is a super-sharp intellect and an understanding of procedural investigation. He’s a smart guy. I’m a smart guy! He’s sarcastic and jaded—so am I! He’s got hang-ups and addictions; well, me too. Not only is that okay, but I can still be worthwhile and successful in spite of my many less-than-savory character traits, just like Charlie Northern.
Aside from my genuine affection for the main character in this series, the book’s got lots more to love, too. Humberto Ramos’ art is really interesting, Paul Jenkins’ story moves at a perfect pace, quick enough to keep one’s interest but not so fast that it’s hard to keep up with, and as I mentioned above, the mystery at its core has me stumped. All in all, this succeeds not only as a comic book, but as fine literature of the highest order as well.
I'm a lifelong media junkie, with a special love for comic books and geek culture. There's a fine, blurry line between a good time, and art that actually means something. I'm interested in exploring the ways that both sides of that line impact our lives, and the things we can learn about ourselves and each other.