The Tithe #5
Well, Top Cow’s got balls. I thought the first storyline, issues #1-4 of The Tithe, was gutsy, taking on mega-churches and criminal preachers, but this one goes even further. This time around, the subject is Muslim terrorists.
Issue #5 kicks off a new story arc with the bombing of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. It’s written by Matt Hawkins, with layouts by Rahsan Ekedal and art by Phillip Sevy.
With all the action and investigation, this is the equivalent of a solid episode of your favorite procedural TV show. Lead FBI agent Dwayne Campbell is a good guy, a Christian family man who provides a balanced perspective on the religious topics. I’m impressed by how well Hawkins writes him, given that he’s an atheist (as discussed in the text pages of prior issues). It’s particularly intriguing to find out here that Campbell’s daughter converted to another faith when she married; how that affects their relationship is a nice counterpoint to the bigger, showier plot elements.
There’s a secondary character-based plotline, with Campbell’s partner, an FBI hacker, getting involved with a consultant (that’s her on the cover) who’s on probation, so their burgeoning relationship may jeopardize her liberty. And of course, there’s a conspiracy, with the bombing (and in issue #6, an attack on a Mormon church) having different motives than first expected. Politics rears its ugly head, and although I find the motivation a bit far-fetched, it’s sadly not all that unrealistic.
The way the story plays out, with the reader seeing the people who are about to die in bomb attacks and being powerless to stop them, reflects how a lot of people feel these days about real-life news (only with less control, since you can always stop reading the comic). I applaud the team for telling a story that feels very current, even if it is escapist justice fiction. The Tithe is an entertaining action movie on paper with a bit more than just “find the bombers” to its storytelling. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)