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Sword of my Mouth [Paperback]

Jim Munroe , Shannon Gerard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 1 2010
If Ella didn’t have her baby, she’d go crazy from the loneliness. But she might still go crazy from the guilt, because the baby isn’t quite right. The world was simpler before the righteous floated away into the sky, and magic started working. A stand-alone story continuing on from acclaimed graphic novel Therefore Repent! (“It’s completely nuts.... It’s a book about what if the Rapture actually happened, and that’s all I’m gonna tell you.” —Junot Díaz, 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Fiction), Sword of My Mouth moves the focus from Chicago, under siege by angels with machine guns, to the urban prairie of Detroit, where a different kind of struggle is faced. Folks in the D have banded together to turn land with burned-out crack houses into farming tracts, and seem to be on a road to self-sufficiency...until Famine rides into town.

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Product Description

Quill & Quire

With Sword of My Mouth, Jim Munroe returns to the post-Rapture dystopia he introduced in 2007’s Therefore, Repent!  Working with illustrator Shannon Gerard (who takes over from Salgood Sam for this instalment), Munroe has created another stunning, thought-provoking work that will linger in the reader’s mind.

Sword of My Mouth serves as a companion to the earlier work, rather than a true sequel. Set in Detroit an indeterminate time after the events of the earlier book, it follows Ella and her infant son. After their apartment burns down, Ella takes up with a small collective of urban farmers who are producing pesticide-free food and trying to avoid the attention of the army of angels that has come from heaven to do clean-up duty following the Rapture. But then Andre, Ella’s partner, returns home from Chicago, where he has been volunteering in the war against the angels, and Famine arrives in town with nefarious plans of his own.

Munroe’s unfettered imagination is given free rein here. Sword of My Mouth includes an angelic occupation of New York, magic and mutations, post-Rapture evangelicals (“Damn Rapture ate up half my flock. Don’t know whether to be flattered that it was so many, or offended that it was only half...”), and astral travel. However, Munroe grounds the work in identifiable human concerns: food, parenthood, companionship, loss, and community. The narrative is well served by Gerard’s deceptively simple artwork; there is much more to these black-and-white illustrations than initially meets the eye.

Which is true, in fact, of the book as a whole: Sword of My Mouth is a complex work masquerading as a relatively straightforward narrative (complete with a well handled twist ending).

Review

“If you love tales of the apocalypse but want something smarter and more character- driven...you must read this comic.” —Annalee Newitz, io9.com

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feeding Mouths, The Swords of Everyday Feb. 7 2011
Format:Paperback
This is a standalone sequel to Jim Monroe's previous graphic novel Therefore Repent!: a story about the world after a majority of its population has ascended into the Heavens due to the Christian Rapture. For a post-apocalyptic world, however, it is relatively peaceful -- aside from the development of mutations and magic in those people left behind from the Rapture and the depredations of machine-gun wielding Angels, their minions The Risen and the fanatical Splitters (those zealously religious people still left behind).

While Therefore Repent! dealt with the relationship, wanderings and realizations of Raven and Mummy, The Sword of My Mouth starts off with the story of Ella -- a single parent -- and her infant mutant son trying to start a whole new life in Detroit. She gradually transitions into her life on a newly created urban farm as farmers seek to create their own produce and recreate agriculture for their now powerless and de-industrialized society. The plot slowly moves away from Ella and focuses on her former lover and fighter Andre, a regenade miracle-worker black preacher who does not -- in fact -- agree with the Rapture or the presence of the Angels, a blind woman named Ursula with psychic abilities sent from the rebellious Chicago and others who are attempting to help with the resistence against the Angels themselves.

Yet the Angels are not the only threat, nor are their ressurected Risen human allies. It seems that the Four Horsemen are attempting to make themselves known: particularly a man with skeletal arms who styles himself as Famine. Famine wants to undermine the independent regrowth of agriculture in Detroit and start selling tainted food on the behest of the Angels to humanity.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive! March 6 2013
By Monica Y. Wu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I picked this up at the Comic Book History Museum. I was surrounded by delicious graphic novels of all sorts, but this was the one that intrigued me enough to buy.

I loved every bit of it. The graphics are impressive, and I loved the way the artwork sort of flows in a chronological, spacial way rather than through traditional panels. The characters look, move, and speak like real people that happened to experience a surreal universe. I also really enjoyed the bonafide depiction of Detroit--rendering real buildings, settings, and local color. I loved recognizing the shout-outs to Detroit.

I liked the story too. It's definitely disruptive and unconventional. The world-building is intriguing, and the briefest snippets of dialogue create vivid sketches of the type of world they live in, both before and after the Rapture. This might not be for people expecting a traditional graphic novel, but it's probably one of the most well-done that I have ever read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feeding Mouths, The Swords of Everyday Nov. 13 2011
By Matthew Kirshenblatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a standalone sequel to Jim Monroe's previous graphic novel Therefore Repent!: a story about the world after a majority of its population has ascended into the Heavens due to the Christian Rapture. For a post-apocalyptic world, however, it is relatively peaceful -- aside from the development of mutations and magic in those people left behind from the Rapture and the depredations of machine-gun wielding Angels, their minions The Risen and the fanatical Splitters (those zealously religious people still left behind).

While Therefore Repent! dealt with the relationship, wanderings and realizations of Raven and Mummy, The Sword of My Mouth starts off with the story of Ella -- a single parent -- and her infant mutant son trying to start a whole new life in Detroit. She gradually transitions into her life on a newly created urban farm as farmers seek to create their own produce and recreate agriculture for their now powerless and de-industrialized society. The plot slowly moves away from Ella and focuses on her former lover and fighter Andre, a regenade miracle-worker black preacher who does not -- in fact -- agree with the Rapture or the presence of the Angels, a blind woman named Ursula with psychic abilities sent from the rebellious Chicago and others who are attempting to help with the resistence against the Angels themselves.

Yet the Angels are not the only threat, nor are their ressurected Risen human allies. It seems that the Four Horsemen are attempting to make themselves known: particularly a man with skeletal arms who styles himself as Famine. Famine wants to undermine the independent regrowth of agriculture in Detroit and start selling tainted food on the behest of the Angels to humanity.

Yet despite the resistence against him, the tone of this book is very sedate and focuses more on the personal lives and the idea of life going on despite this world being a post-Rapture one. I think that this is one of the strengths of this story: that it focuses less on and even downplays the idea of grandiose conflicts and more on a common and everyday working life and some happiness in a post-apocalyptic world. Shannon Gerard's illustrations are very clear, clean and beautiful examples of a kind of life drawing.

Another interesting thing of note with regards to the illustration and paneling of this book is that after a while the artist utilizes very few panels in her work with Munroe. Different scenes are placed next to each other without lines nor squares dividing them. Even character transitions of movement are displayed differently: Gerard allowing you to see them transition frame by frame (without squares) next to previous images of each other. It is a very fascinating effect that can sometimes become very confusing.

For the most part, I found this story and its layout very interesting. I do think that Judeo-Christian religious people in a post-Rapture world would call themselves something other than "Splitters" however: the term just sounds like a bit of slang that everyone else would use to describe them. I was also confused about the presence of the portals or rifts that opened up and created a feeling of good will in people caught in them. I really do however like the idea of some people who seem to have had themselves willingly mutated to fight and destroy the Angels, as well as the idea that some religious figures would not simply and blindly follow them and the "Judeo-Christian apocalyptic status quo." I also really loved how even humans -- even enemies would ally and cooperate just to be able to defeat "divine tyranny" and survive.

Sword of my Mouth is a title that, aside from being taken from the Bible, connotates food and sustenance -- a very important thing for this world -- and also the power of words and ideology. This book lives up to both meanings and mixes them well. I would definitely like to see even more stories set in this world.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Co-op Farming After the Rapture July 17 2010
By Stephen Dobie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A graphic novel that takes place shortly after what most people believe to have been the Rapture. Half of the population is gone, angels occupy several major cities and magic now works. The story mainly follows a single mother, Ella, who moves in with a communal farming group after her apartment burns down. At the same time, an incarnation of Famine is trying to set up an operation in Detroit that will cause famine through "predatory pricing."

The story was OK, but not very focused. Ella's story does not directly intersect with the famine story, and could mostly have been told without the whole post-Rapture setting. The Famine portions seem to be in the story mainly to make some anti-corporate points. Sword of My Mouth is different for focusing more on the lives on ordinary people living their lives in a post-apocalyptic world, but I did not find it to be a very compelling story.
2 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Post-Rapture Clap-Trap April 25 2010
By Timothy Buchanan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I appreciate indie comics. But I honestly can't figure out what the author was trying to do here. There was a lot of room for a dynamic story here with vivid characters of depth. But the graphic doesn't deliver. If you want something along these lines with more discernible substance, try American Jesus Volume 1: Chosen (v. 1) or Video: The Collected Edition Chapter One.
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