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Just A Pilgrim (2009)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Just A Pilgrim (2009) creator/writer Garth Ennis

Creator/artist Carlos Ezquerra

The first story in this trade paperback reprints the first 2001 series. It's eight years after the Earth has been basted and the oceans totally dried up. The sun's radiation has created all sorts of new creatures, transforming sea life into weird monsters. The landscape is this dried up ocean bed,littered by the rusting hulks of ships.

A boy, Billy, and his parents are trying to traverse the wasteland for a better place but their group is attacked by bandits, who live in the nearby hulk of a rusted out ship. Just as it looks they are going to be killed the Pilgrim shows up and starts blowing bad guys away. Afterwards they ask why he is helping them and he responds "Been walkin' this accursed land these eight years since the burn. Makin' war on the unholy, helpin' lost sheep find their way home. Just doin' the work o' the lord". Throughout the book he's constantly quoting the bible while killing people. He also has this scar of the cross burned into half of his face. Although he's this larger than life, seemingly indestructible character, the one person he relates to is young Billy. Much of the story is told through Billy's diary, which ends up giving The Pilgrim a better perspective on his own life, in the end.

There's also a nasty villain, Castenado, who is blind and has hooks instead of hands, and plenty of malformed mutant creatures, including one that lays its young in one of the group's men. He blows up like a huge beachball, which is rather disgusting. The biggest revelation is who the Pilgrim was before the Burn--a convicted cannibal.

In GARDEN OF EDEN, it's four years later, and the Pilgrim starts descending down one of the dried up ocean trenches, where life may still exist. It does--and there's a colony of humans down there, who are growing plants and food. It's an almost ideal world. However, there's a new type of jelly-fish like creature that can reanimate corpses, so there's these glowing eyed zombies that are always a threat. These creatures view themselves as the inheritors of the Earth and realize they need human bodies to help them survive. When the surviving humans try to take off in the shuttle, for a new beginning in space, these creatures want to tag along. Throughout all of this the Pilgrim's world-view changes a bit--and he ends up sacrificing himself so that humanity may survive.

JUST A PILGRIM presents an interesting apocalyptic future, part MAD MAX combined with a lot of author Garth Ennis weirdness.

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