December 21, 2010

Getting Graphic: "American Virgin" by Steven J. Seagle and Becky Cloonan

American Virgin: Head (Book 1)
written by Steven J. Seagle
illustrated by Becky Cloonan
DC/Vertigo (2006)
ISBN 9781401210656

Have you ever wondered about those holier-than-thou types that promote the whole abstinence-only policy to kids? Turns out, so have Steven Seagle and Becky Cloonan.

Adam Chamberlain, a charismatic youth minister with a mother and step-father so shady they'd make Jerry Falwell appear saintly, is out in the world evangelizing and promoting abstinence as hip and cool. He's even walking the walk, saving himself for when he can marry his sweetheart Peace Corps girlfriend, Cassandra. His world is thrown into a blender though, when he learns Cassandra has been murdered--and beheaded--in Africa. He's especially devastated because he believes God spoke to him, telling him that Cassandra was the only woman he'd ever be with. That's gotta suck.

So with the help of his little brother and step-sister, both of whom are resplendent in their comparatively deviant behavior--piercings, casual sex, and recreational drug use--Adam takes it upon himself to go to Africa and find some measure of justice for his one true love. Of course, things don't exactly go according to his plans. Culture shock, tabloids, mercenaries, secrets spilled, and hallucinations are but some of the things in Adam's path.

To say Adam is stunningly ignorant of the world he preaches to is putting it mildly. And while he might like to consider himself christlike, the story slowly reveals that he is not without lust in his own heart--and hate. Some readers might see his gradual transformation as a declination in moral code, while others--including me--see him finally becoming aligned with his true feelings and having to confront them, rather than bottling them up behind a saintly facade.

It's an interesting story with very little resolved by the end of the book, but definitely leaves readers with the promise of more in the rest of the series. I'll likely to be on the lookout for the second book.

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