So far, Saints by Sean Lewis and Ben Mackey has been a good book – an interesting premise, relatable characters, and pretty much a narrative that one would like to generally keep tabs on. However, with Saints 3, the series has ascended from ‘good’ to ‘great.’
This issue starts where the previous one left off with Sebastian, Lucy, and Blaise encountering another Saint whose power is derived from Saint Steven – dude can manipulate rocks.
Lucy wants to talk it out with Stephen, to settle this deadly confrontation peacefully, but Sebastian wants to put an arrow in him to end this quickly. Blaise, on the other hand, finds a place to cower and converse with the painting – this has been his MO so far the entire series: he’s a healer, so what good is he in combat? Be selfish, be a coward, avoid the fight.
When things calm down the gang gets some interesting info from the renegade saint, and then the reader is shown a piece of the plot that has been eluded thus far: the main antagonists.
Lewis’ organization of the bad guys is sublime: he takes Christian denominations that have a negative connotation and gives them form, revealing them to be the polar opposite of the plucky group of Saints. Lewis also has a wonderful ability to progress the story with controlled dialogue, keeping the conversations short and clipped as it would be during a violent conflict. He never lets too much speech get in the way of the story, and his narrative crafting really levels up in this issue. Also? Dude's pretty damn funny.
What can be said about Mackey’s art that hasn’t been said about Eduardo Risso in 100 Bullets, or Steve Dillon in Preacher? This is an artist whose style is so perfectly tied to the story that one can’t even imagine anyone else providing the artwork. Mackey handles action sequences perfectly, captures the true essence of emotion in his facial expressions, and in the last reveal of the issue is able to convey a shock felt by the character and the reader alike.
This issue was absolutely wonderful, and really seems to level up this series into an absolute must-have every month.
LOWDOWN: 9 out of 10 pelvic thrusts. This book hit me right where it needed to, with an intense, thoughtful approach to religion affecting modern times and modern zealots. I love what Mackey and Lewis are up to and I'll be buying every issue for as long as they keep this up.