THE TURNAROUND BLOG

Breaking The Ten – Graphic Novel Spotlight

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In troubling times, some people find comfort in religion. But sometimes, it can cause people to turn on it entirely. Comic journeyman Sean Michael Wilson examines just such a case in Breaking The Ten. When David loses his wife and child in a tragic car accident he decides, in anger at the cruelty of the event, to turn against God. He sets out to systematically break each of the Ten Commandments in order to both spite God and to get his attention! But will he go all the way, and break the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”? Two mysterious figures, Mr. White and Mr. Black, try to win David over to their side: the religious or the humanistic.

The classic argument of how can an all-loving God allow suffering and evil in the world has been explored in several mediums from different perspectives. Wilson manages to bring quite a fresh take to this debate in the story as his main character – a devout Christian – rather than simply losing his faith after the suffering that he has had to endure, completely lashes out at God and decides to break every rule that Christianity has laid in place in an attempt to draw God’s attention. It makes for an interesting story as the scenario presented would lead you to guess that David would just lose his faith. Instead of dissecting his Christian beliefs, he decides to flagrantly go against every one of them which will lead to some great story opportunities if his first rebellious acts against the Ten Commandments are anything to go by (personal favourite being when he struggles to think of a way to go against “Remember the Sabbath Day” when the majority of the world including the most religious of people have moved on from holy days of obligation). The Presence of Mr. White and Mr. Black also bring a lot to the story with their arguments over David being particularly entertaining – David has no interest in their advice and isn’t buying at all that they are messengers from a higher power. Whilst convention would suggest that they would be representations of good and evil, Wilson keeps their motives vague as Mr. White appears to be an agent of God and Mr. Black seems to be coming from a more Humanist perspective, which again is quite a refreshing take.

Wilson reunites with frequent collaborator Michiru Morikawa who provides some great illustration for this volume. She is particularly good at moving between intense and subdued scenes without it coming off as jarring and has a great grasp of character expression, with David in particular showing off a lot of depth through facials alone in just a few pages. Her designs for Mr. White and Mr. Black are also great – while they’re deliberately low key, you can easily tell they are more important than they appear on first impression.

Breaking The Ten is a great examination of a topic not often looked at in comics and even manages to find a fresh perspective on a long standing debate. This is well worth a look if you’re searching for something a little different.

Breaking The Ten is published 28 July by NBM

Post by Leo

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