Suspended Animation - 5/16/08
May 16, 2008

Son of Samson and The Judge of God Vol. 1 (Aug. 2007)/pp.160/ $6.99/published by Zondervan/written by Gary Martin/art by Sergio Cariello/

Anyone familiar with the Bible has heard of Samson, the last judge. The accounts of Samson and his adventures are some of the most entertaining to be found in Scripture. Those accounts are also the inspiration for a graphic novel from Zondervan entitled Son of Samson and the Judge of God.

Written by Gary Martin (co-creator of “The Moth” with Steve Rude), The Judge of God is the story of Samson’s progeny, Branan. Coming of age, he decides to travel Palestine, retrace his father’s supernatural feats, and hopefully discover the purpose for his own divinely-provided strength. Along the way, he gets into skirmishes, melees and amazing adventures, most of the time acting as a champion for the downtrodden.

Martin does an admirable job of injecting Barak with just the right amounts of youthful exuberance and naivete. His altruism is endearing, even if his anxiousness to hurl himself into the fray sometimes costs him. In other words, this is an interesting character.

As enjoyable as the story is, The Judge of God would not be what it is without the artwork of Sergio Cariello. It’s the reason the book caught my eye in the first place. For those who have been reading comics for a long time, imagine a style that is equal parts John Buscema and Joe Staton, and you will have an idea of what Cariello’s stellar work looks like. For those who have not, it should suffice to call this a style that is highly-characterized, highly dramatic, and as action-oriented as you could ever hope to expect. There is also, however, a flair for characterization and storytelling that is specific to Sergio, and that you won’t find anywhere else.

The Son of Samson series is recommended for all ages although its publisher suggests ages 9-12. Four volumes are currently available, including The Judge of God, The Daughter of Dagon (for a sample chapter go here), The Maiden of Thunder and The Raiders of Joppa that was released May 2008. Four more are planned, including The Witch of Endor, available August 2008. Find them at Christian bookstores, some online retailers and auctions.

Review by Mark Allen

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