American Virgin #1
Quick Rating: Fair
Title: Head Part One
Adam Chamberlin believes in God’s plan… too bad he’s the only one.
Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Art: Becky Cloonan
Colors: Brian Miller
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Shelly Bond
Cover Art: Frank Quietly
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
Vertigo’s latest series is low on the horror and bizarre fantasy that for so long defined the imprint. It doesn’t even seem to have the aspects of terrorism and espionage that have defined some of the more recent entries. In fact, the only thing that seems to earmark this title for Vertigo is its frank discussion of sex.
Adam Chamberlin is a Christian youth minister with a message of maintaining abstinence until marriage. He makes the college circuit and charges up his crowds, and he’s at the top of his game when this issue starts. By the end of this first issue, however, he’s been assaulted, tempted and shattered when he sees that something he believed was God’s plan go up in smoke.
To Steven Seagle’s credit, he doesn’t go the easy route of ridiculing Adam or his beliefs. To the contrary, Adam comes across as a very sincere young man with very strong beliefs, and although we see him assaulted with temptation like anyone else, his determination to resist it is genuine. Even the horrifying ending doesn’t come across as a “ha-ha, you were wrong” sort of moment, but rather as an, “oh no, what will happen to him next” bit?
Adam, of course, does not exist in a vacuum, and Seagle has surrounded him with lowlifes and hypocrites, although he manages to do so without getting too much into commentary on them. This is Adam’s story, the rest of the characters are window dressing.
This is a stronger first issue than I expected, although regular Vertigo readers will not find much familiar territory in this storyline. What’s more, I’m somewhat at a loss to comprehend how long Seagle can maintain such a premise in an ongoing series. (Let’s face it, there will come a point where Adam either has sex – at which point the title will effectively be over – or we’ll wind up just seeing him resist temptation again and again, which could get boring.) Still, this is an interesting enough starting point.