The Tithe: Volume 1
“The Tithe: Volume 1 is a welcome entry into not just the graphic novel market, but also the overall crime fiction genre.”
The Tithe: Volume 1 is a slick, well-written, amazingly illustrated graphic novel. Matt Hawkins has done an excellent job sucking readers into the story while Rahsan Ekedel’s art is tight, exciting, dark, and laid out perfectly.
Bringing together issues 1–4 of the series that launched in April of 2015, The Tithe: Volume 1 tells the story of a group of criminals, lead by a hacker genius going by the name of Samaritan, bent on playing Robin Hood and taking down fraudulent mega churches that are bilking their congregations out of millions of dollars. On Samaritan’s trail are FBI agents Jimmy Miller and Dwayne Campbell. The two agents once had the task of investigating the mega churches themselves, but Samaritan’s involvement changed the game.
At times a classic heist story, and at other times a treatise on the hypocrisy of the bloated business mega churches have become, The Tithe is always exciting, solidly entertaining, and never pulls a punch. Filled with plenty of violence, language, sex, money, and politics, The Tithe couples societal commentary with good, pulpy action fun.
Matt Hawkins’ story and writing shows an understanding for the crime genre. He gets the complexity of planning and executing a heist while also taking into the human elements that always add chaos. Instead of shying away from that chaos, he embraces it and makes it as much a part of the storyline as the actual robberies.
Rhasan Ekedel’s artistic style is filled with thick, black lines separating each panel. They give the pages a dark, noirish feel that balances well with the action as well as the quieter moments of the narrative. His layout is simple at times, jarring at others, and paced well so that the readers’ eyes move seamlessly through the story.
One thing that sets the trade paperback apart from the individual issues of the series is all of the extras in back. Only four issues bound together leaves plenty of room for character bios and sketches, commentary on the creative process, answering questions posed by readers and fans, as well as cover illustrations from the individual issues. Not to mention a nice preview of one of Hawkins’ other projects, Postal.
The Tithe: Volume 1 is a welcome entry into not just the graphic novel market, but also the overall crime fiction genre. Well worth the readers’ time and money.