Robert Windom & Kelvin Mao, writers; Jae Lee, art; June Chung, colors
Image Comics, 2023
In an alternate timeline religious leader Nicolaus Balaak correctly predicted that on July 7, 1977, seven identical sons would be born to virgin mothers. Now, on their 21st birthday, one of these Seven Sons will be revealed as the new son of God and lead humanity into a golden age of morality, peace, and prosperity. This is a society that has been completely transformed by these religious revelations: they have a concrete reality that seems to go far beyond traditional theological considerations. The opening scene makes this clear by taking place in New Canaan (formerly Las Vegas), then shifts to The New Church of the Seven in Utah a few years earlier, where a glitzy megachurch-style service is being visited by former two-term president Jimmy Carter.
Life is no bed of roses for the titular Seven Sons (called the Jesi), despite being worshiped by many. Not only are they constantly being watched by the church (and have concerns about which of them will finally be anointed as the One), but they are also being hunted by the terrorist group Allah's Watchmen, who understandably do not have any sympathy for this Christian-centric view of the world. When one of the sons goes incognito he begins to learn things about the religion that call everything into question: the reality of the miracles it claims to perform, the true beliefs of its leaders, and finally the origin story of the birth of the identical sons. What if the whole thing is a scam founded in science rather than the supernatural?
Somehow the big God reveal works out, despite miracle failures and a thwarted terrorist attack. The remaining Jesus even declines the crown and goes off to live as a normal human. A final clone scene leaves the possibility of a sequel, although it seems to me that this story was complete as is. Jae Lee's art (with June Chung's colors) tells the story dramatically, with plenty of creative panel choices and striking lighting effects.