writer/artist: Min-Woo Hyung
published by TokyoPop
(this article originally appeared in Rue Morgue #35, Sept./Oct. 2003)
In Priest (15 volumes; TokyoPop; originally published in Korea), gun packing priests kill zombie armies. Like Harvey Keitel’s character in From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, Ivan Isaacs – the comic’s titular man of the cloth – is “a mean motherfuckin’ servant of God.” But, unlike Keitel, Isaacs is as much evil as he is good.
Half of Isaacs became evil after he sold his soul to the devil Belial in exchange for the ability to kill the legions of the undead plaguing the Old West (the story says it’s Tennessee, but surely no part of Tennessee was ever quite so dusty or full of cowboys). Isaacs made the deal after forsaking God, rejecting his true love, being crucified and pledging to fight the fallen archangel Temozarela and his servants.
When it comes to killing demon cowpokes and rotting cattle rustlers, Isaacs is a sure shot. But when he is overcome by flesh-eaters, Belial takes over, turning Isaacs feral and offering him greater reserves of strength. He roams the land in classic Western fashion, trying to stop Temozarela’s minions from resurrecting their leader. That’s when the bullets start to fly.
Each issue of Priest is non-stop action, and while the story is good, it’s the visuals that set this comic apart. Writer/artist Min-Woo Hyung’s art is significantly different from what most people associate with Asian comic art. Rather than big, trembling eyes and too-stylish-for-words haircuts, Priest is furnished in a kinetic, angular style all its own.