Son of Samson: The Judge of God
& The Daughter of Dagon

by Gary Martin, Sergio Cariello (Zondervan, 2007)

Anyone familiar with the Bible has heard of Samson, the last judge. The accounts of Samson and his adventures are some of the most entertaining to be found in Scripture. Those accounts are also the inspiration for a graphic novel from Zondervan titled Son of Samson & the Judge of God.

Written by Gary Martin (co-creator of The Moth with Steve Rude), Son of Samson is the story of Samson's progeny, Branan. Coming of age, he decides to travel Palestine, retrace his father's supernatural feats and hopefully discover the purpose for his own divinely provided strength. Along the way, he gets into skirmishes, melees and amazing adventures, most of the time while acting as a champion for the downtrodden.

In the second volume, Son of Samson & the Daughter of Dagon, Branan rescues Saphira, a damsel in distress -- only to discover she is the daughter of Delilah, architect of his father's downfall.

Martin does an admirable job of injecting Branan with just the right amounts of youthful exuberance and naivete. His altruism is endearing, even if his anxiousness to hurl himself into the fray sometimes costs him. In other words, this is an interesting character.

As enjoyable as the story is, Son of Samson would not be what it is without the artwork of Sergio Cariello. It's the reason the book caught my eye in the first place. For those who have been reading comics for a long time, imagine a style that is equal parts John Buscema and Joe Staton, and you will have an idea of what Cariello's stellar work looks like. For those who have not, it should suffice to call this a style that is highly characterized, highly dramatic and as action-oriented as you could ever hope to expect. There is also, however, a flair for characterization and storytelling that is specific to Sergio, and that you won't find anywhere else.

Son of Samson is recommended for all ages. Four volumes are currently available, with four more planned.

review by
Mark Allen

7 June 2008

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