Comic Review: NINETY-NINE RIGHTEOUS MEN by K.M. Claude (2015)

Genre: Adult Gothic Horror
Year Release: 2015
Source: Amazon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content warnings: Dubious consent, attempted sexual assault, explicit sexual content, body horror, vomiting, blood, religious trauma, mention of past rape and alcoholism

Caleb is a parishioner at Father Daniel’s church. He slowly starts behaving strangely and erratically, and the root problem seems to be a demonic possession. Monsignor Tiefer does not believe Fr. Daniel, but the only other priest available for an exorcism is Fr. Adam, who has a sordid personal history with the father. A moving story of forgiveness and atonement told through art that is at once beautiful and horrific. It left my brain in a flaming vortex when I reached the final panel, but please heed the trigger warnings before diving in.

I can’t believe I was supposed to conduct myself like a normal human being upon finishing this work. The art is absolutely gorgeous, and Claude has a strong sense of story-telling and panel progression. The character designs are unique within the work, and the expressions are evocative. I love the design of the Prince of Lust, the eyes in unexpected places are a particularly tasty, but the men involved are handsome as well.

The story itself does incredible thematic layering with the religious imagery, Christian (Catholic, specifically, I believe) concepts of confession and contrition, and use of Biblical quotes from the title to the story arch. Claude weaves a fantastic yarn with imperfect characters doing their best to care about each other, but consequences and divine intervention of the hellish variety get in the way. If you’re a fan of exorcism stories that are deeply character-driven and almost every character is some flavor of queer, this one is for you. Devastating in a way really good tales are, I’ll definitely be revisiting in the future.


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