Apocalypticism is one of the many fascinating phenomenons have continued throughout the ages. The idea of the end of the world happening within our lifetime has been shaped in imagination through biblical mythos, where seven seals must be broken to bring about the end of time: Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death are unleashed. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Simon Bisley and Michael Mendheim is a graphic novel that updates the images of these iconic harbingers of doom, and takes its audience on a grisly journey to Hell and back.
Adam Cahill looks like a goth metalhead complete with long hair and black fingernails. He works as a Jewish history professor with a beautiful wife and daughter. Secretly he is also part of the the Order of Solomon, a bloodline of men dedicated to protection and preservation of seven magical seals. Andrei Belarios the probable antichrist is the epitome of corporate evil, the leader of the Nicolatian Cult that seeks to bring about the end of times. One by one he has the Order of Solomon slain and crucified against a ritualistic satanic symbol, collecting and breaking all the seals he acquires. When Cahill is stricken by the murder of his wife and captured by the Nicolatians, a divine voice commands him to commit suicide. By doing so, he acquires the ability to enter Hell and retrieve three corrupt souls. Together Cahill and his allies must face off against the four horsemen and stop the Armageddon.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is not for those with weak stomachs. An overwhelming amount of grotesque faces and dismemberment gorge its way through the pages. It is introduced as a labor of love that struggled against all odds to come into fruition. The result is an epic barrage of gratuitous violence, with the human world and hell itself painted in blood, fire, and scantily clad women. It was originally intended to be a video game, a medium I feel would have served this premise better. Nevertheless it cannot be denied that the comic is a wondrous feat of dedication. The character designs for the horsemen are magnificent, and the huge amount of artistic content is incredibly detailed. Cahill is a vehicle leading to the backstories of the more interesting corrupted souls: the addict, madman, and deceiver. Development of their character arcs to redemption show the depth of their flaws. Even the most innocent and depraved of humankind possess the free will for self sacrifice. People are powerful enough to endure terrible suffering and still rebel against the greatest supernatural forces. It is an intense, sweeping, story coiling in its Christian mythos, showing the lights of hope amidst plentiful badass bloodcurdling images.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is available now from Titan Comics.