The Magdalena The Seventh Sacrament a Religious Story in Time for Christmas
I’ve never been an overly religious guy, I did spend a few years in a Christian school, and for a lack of a tackier term I’m more spiritual than religious. With that disclosure I have to say that Christian dogma and history intrigues me. Angels and demons, saints and sinners, Christian dogma, particularly Catholic dogma, is rich with some amazing characters and stories. Everyone knows Pope Francis but not everyone knows that the original Saint Francis of Assisi was a pretty cool guy too. Saint Francis is the patron saint of animals and the environment and founded a bunch of different Catholic orders. He was more than good guy, he was a saint! Any writer worth his/her salt knows a good base for a story arc when they see it and the Writer of The Magdalena The Seventh Sacrament, Tini Howard, was smart enough see some potential in Catholicism.
The Magdalena The Seventh Sacrament is written by Tini Howard, artwork by Aileen Oracion, color by Ross Campbell, letters by Troy Peteri, cover art by ROM Darkness Et Folly, and edited by Betsy Gonia. I truly admire artists; I can’t even draw stick figures, and I really covet their skills. This artistic team has put together a brilliantly colorful and artistic book, with deep rich colors and an almost pastel or oil painting feel to it. Take any criticism and/or observation about art that I offer with a grain of salt, because like I said, I’m no artist and I’m also color blind. I do however know what I like and can see some good art for what it is despite my handicaps. One of the things I look for in comic book art is the portrayal of emotion through facial expressions and other non-verbal cues and this book does a great job with that. The main character in the beginning, Detective Pezzini, expresses her demeanor and confidence through facial expressions and within the first two pages I was hooked.
Even though I was drawn into the book in the first few pages the story doesn’t follow Detective Pezzini, it actually flashes back when she shows her discovery of old Catholic texts to an Archbishop from New York named Cardinal Everett Ramos. The texts and the story that follows is centered on a nun named Agatha during the Crusades. Agatha is with a party that is attempting to obtain a relic for the Catholic Church.
As Agatha’s party reaches the castle and feast with the king everything seems to be going as planned, but of course that would be a great time to introduce the bad guys. The bad guys in this case happen to be ugly, pointy eared, troll faced demons. The demons attack the town and the castle looking for the relic that happens to be fairly secure. Agatha is prompted by the priest she was traveling with to find the relic and guard it, but Agatha is so BA that she not only finds the relic but she saves the young prince as well.
Agatha is very close to God and her near saint hood is expressed through an exchange with a tired and hungry prince and her attempt to find food for him. She allows him to rest and goes off to find some food, while her searching comes up empty she prays for help from God and he delivers a pair of nearly every edible animal in the forest. I like this part of the story because it shows exactly how godly and caring Agatha is and how she not only deserves the help of God but is close to him in her actions of kindness.
Agatha continues with her journey, even after losing the prince to the cold, and stumbles upon a monastery run by typically pompous and arrogant monks. As she seeks asylum and a warm place to rest the demons follow her and take advantage of the greedy arrogant monks and pay their way into the monastery. The demons attack after nightfall and are in search of the Spear of Christ that Agatha carries with her. The fight between Agatha and the demons is pretty epic as Agatha prays during the fight and becomes more and more BA with every word of prayer. She turns into a true warrior of God, armor and all, and banishes the demons back to hell saving the day for the jerk Monks.
As the battle comes to an end the story flashes back to Detective Pezzini and Cardinal Everett discussing the ramifications of that day and they talk over panels of what happened. In the end the Cardinal is impressed and the Detective is happy to give the texts over to him. I like the ending but I really wish this book was more than a one shot. I think there is room on peoples shelves for stories like this and I would buy issue two if they made one.
I can’t hide my bias for Catholic dogma and stories, they’re too good and too rich with history, so I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not only did this book entertain but it came out just in time for the Christmas season, an excellent marketing strategy if you ask me. I would definitely recommend this book, not just to Christians, but to anyone.