Story: John Allison
Art: John Allison
Colors: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Jim Campbell
What They Say:
From Giant Days’ John Allison! A supernatural tale of friendship, the devil, and moral gray areas. New curate Billie Baker does her best to reach out to the small coastal parish’s wayward youth, but when a supernatural rain brings forth an aquatic demon, she finds that she doesn’t see eye-to-eye with her boss’s way of dealing with things.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening installment for Steeple was certainly interesting in how it presented itself, jumping to a few different things from writer/artist John Allison and colorist Sarah Stern. I loved the look of the book and Billie was a character you could get behind quickly as she wants to do right by everyone and will put herself out there even as she stumbles often. With Penrose showing us how things have been done for a long time at the church and Clovis ensuring order is a part of things for him, it was easy to connect with the central ideas and characters and to begin exploring this area. It’s got a neat look and some fun characters so far, making it a book I was looking forward to more of.
With this issue we get Penrose off again to fight the neverending fight as he’s been commanded to do so and taught to do. There’s a going through the motions feeling to it with some color written in by Clovis and how she needles him a little. For Billie, she’s not intent on getting caught up in all of that and wants to make a difference in the community, not deal with angry sea creatures. She’s so upbeat and positive – even after falling off her bike and getting laughed at by a group of teenagers she tries to appeal to for participation in helping her in the community, that it’s Maggie that helps the most. It’s fun to see these two together since Maggie’s got the whole Satanist thing going on and Billie is just glad to talk with someone about things that doesn’t dismiss her outright. Heck, Maggie gives her ideas on how to connect with the kids.
It’s fun as she does manage to connect with them, somewhat through music in an odd way, and they opt in to help as long as Billie isn’t trying to convert them or get them to read the bible. It’s a nice sequence overall where the first layer of understanding comes in through the conversation and interactions, but it plays out as a few other events with the sea creatures unfolds. One, presumably a teen like the kids, follows them back to the church as he wants to be involved with them. The parent-figure follows not long after but this is where Penrose shows up and fights, leading to the obvious moment of Billie trying to make it clear that they’ve been fighting so long they don’t really know why. It’s a little too obvious and easy but Billie needed the win and things were not in Penrose’s favor at all.
There’s a lot to like here and John Allison stuffs a lot into each and every page. I particular like Billie’s tripe to the Satanist temple to get some help from Maggie but shows up when they’re amid a ritual and the like, which she was so not ready for. Beyond that, however, we get a solid story that moves things forward and gives us a better idea as to who everyone is and their motivations. I like Billie a lot as she’s so earnest here and her relationship with Maggie is a hoot to watch. I am curious how far we’ll get in understanding this larger fight that’s been going on as it’s laid out too simply and with obvious paths at the moment and I’d like something a little richer than that.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: October 16th, 2019