Chosen ends its three-issue run without delivering on the promise made by creator Mark Millar. In promoting this series, Millar said: “The story of Jesus Christ in the New Testament is over 2000 years old and so I just want to bring it to a whole new generation of readers.”
In reviews of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Chosen‘s first two parts, I pointed out that Jodie Christianson is not a good example of the return of Jesus Christ. He’s a realistic example, though, of some 12-year-olds in this culture: He swears, looks at pornography, etc. But Jodie discovers he can do miracles. He heals with a touch and is able to bring comfort to those in distress. The assumption is that Jodie is the return of Jesus Christ. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
In part three, we learn the truth about Jodie. The beginning of the issue shows us Father O’Higgins, the local priest, who does not believe in Jodie—or for that matter, God. We see him standing in the pulpit, saying Mass. Later we see him in a local bar. O’Higgins is very harsh, and he is presented in the most negative light. He has lost his faith and uses drink and cursing to cope with his pain.
Jodie continues his ministry by visiting his history teacher’s sick mother. He doesn’t heal her because she is ready to die. The teacher finds this hard to accept, but still believes in Jodie. Jodie emerges from the house to a crowd awaiting the next word or miracle. News of Jodie spreads.
It is also revealed that there is a group behind Jodie. A man named Allerdyce calls from Washington, D.C. He tells Jodie’s mother that Jodie will be moved to New York City, for the attention paid to Jodie can be harmful to the boy’s purpose in the world. Jodie’s mother speaks in profane terms about not wanting the boy to go, but the group wins out.
The final miracle Jodie attempts is the resurrection of O’Higgins’ dog. O’Higgins prayed earlier for God to send him a sign about Jodie. He wants to know if he should believe in Jodie. A car strikes the dog, and Father O’Higgins brings it to Jodie, pleading for Jodie to bring it back. Jodie manifests such power in the resurrection that he causes a power surge that blows out lights up and down the east coast.
The end of the series finds Jodie in a car, on the way to his new life. He is told he is going to meet his father. Jodie asks if he is going to meet God—and to reveal much more would be revealing the secret of the story.
Chosen is an example of the old “bait-and-switch” tactic. You are promised one thing and get hooked on the promise, only to find out you are getting something different.
Millar does drop hints to where he is going, but the guerrilla marketing done before the comic’s publishing leads the reader to think something completely different. Chosen reveals that truth in advertising is needed.
Mark Richardson, publisher of Chosen, said people should not pass judgment on Chosen until they had read the entire series. He also said the series is not what you would expect. Having read it, I can say he is right.
The series is a story … that leads to a shock ending … that is none too shocking. In reading the first two issues, I wondered how Millar could end the series, given how it was described. He ends it by not being true to the purported story. We are duped into believing in a savior who is no savior at all.
Chosen is rated M for mature content and contains graphic language. It is not for children or young-to-middle teens.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
Read our reviews of Chosen: Part One and Part Two.
Also read our reviews of other graphic novels, including Testament and Samson.