There are some who will say that the plot of The Tithe is unrealistic. And yet, as Matt Hawkins points out in his commentary at the end of the issue, the idea of an American Senator manipulating domestic terrorists and blackmailing Muslim immigrants into becoming suicide bombers in a bid for political power is no more outlandish than some of the conspiracy theories bandied about the mainstream media. Indeed, such a plot seems downright mundane given that a conservative radio host this week was claiming that Justice Anthony Scalia did not die of a heart attack but was offered up as a human sacrifice by Texan pagans to increase the power of President Obama. But I digress.
Regardless of the claims of some critics, Hawkins takes great care to present a centrist view regarding the political and religious matters inherent to the story. It would be all too easy to paint all Christians or Muslims as rabid extremists or all people of faith as misguided but Hawkins avoids this. Indeed, our lead FBI investigator, Agent Campbell is a devout Christian conservative Texan who has an open and understanding attitude toward people of other faiths. He jokes at one point that he can forgive his daughter converting to Islam but that he cannot reconcile her abandoning The Cowboys for The Lions. It is through lines such as these, and a number of other litle character moments, that Hawknis crafts true characters rather than the cardboard cut-outs that fill most political fiction.
Previous issues of The Tithe have suffered for a lack of action, but this one makes up for that in spades. Most of the issue's second half is devoted toward a tense, action-packed scene of the FBI storming a terrorist compound. Rahsan Ekedal, Phillip Sevy and Jeremy Colwell have truly undone themselves this time.
Alas, this may well be the last we see of The Tithe after a planned crossover with Postal and Think Tank. Apparently the sales on the individual issues have not been high and we may never get to see the planned third volume, in which Sam and James go rogue to rob The Vatican More is the pity, for this thriller has thrilled me like no other comic of its kind.