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Comic Book / Just a Pilgrim

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Just a Pilgrim is a comic series by Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezequerra. It follows the tale of a mysterious Christian traveller in a post-apocalyptic setting. The storyline, however, is anything but Christian. It also has a sequel, Pilgrim: Garden of Eden.

Just a Pilgrim provides examples of:

  • After the End: The world has been reduced to a desert by a massive solar flare.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In the second book...Chris (a lady who heard the Pilgrim's reason to the last stand in the titanic) she asked him a question regarding a kid's diary that was the Pilgrim's god truly a trustworthy being despite know, the whole group dying from his explosion.
  • Anti-Hero: The Pilgrim, though by the end of the first story arc he's arguably more of a Villain Protagonist. He gets better at the end of the second.
  • Anyone Can Die: And they almost all do, too. In the end humanity is reduced to two people on a space shuttle, and the Pilgrim is neither of them.
  • The Atoner: The Pilgrim. Somewhat Deconstructed in that his "atonement" is actually just running away from his mistakes instead of really making up for them - meaning he ends up repeating them.
    Pilgrim: ...So the Bible's true 'cause it says so in the Bible, that it? I think I got a bridge I can sell you, Father.
    Preacher: Heh. It's true because you feel it's true, my friend. Because you believe and accept it in your heart. People go looking for God outside— for proof, for signs of his existence in the material world—when they really should be looking inside. In here.
    Pilgrim: An God's inside you, Father?
    Preacher: He is.
    Pilgrim: You don't doubt, you don't question—you kin go on an' do what yore s'posed to, an He'll take care of the rest?
    Preacher: He will. Why do you ask?
    Pilgrim: Just thinkin'. Seems a bit like the Army.
  • Badass Longcoat: Pilgrim's Duster. Also: Castenado's pirate coat.
  • Badass Normal: The Pilgrim is a mere mortal and still has no problem killing his enemies in droves.
  • Bad Boss: "Thassa good lad, to die for Castenado."
  • Biblical Motifs: Dozens, but one of the funniest is Christine being given an apple by her pet snake Ozzie in the garden.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: For a Christian, Pilgrim is pretty harsh. Forget bible-thumping, if you reject God, he says you're possessed and shoots you. Though his antagonists tend to be cruel pirates and omnicidal parasites.
  • Blob Monster: The Sliders in the second miniseries are jellyfish-like creatures.
  • Blood Knight: The Pilgrim. Actually how he developed his skills - a semi-Sociopathic Soldier who was part of a elite unit that participated in actions all over the globe.
  • Boats into Buildings: A downplayed example. As the Earth's oceans have dried up, the caravan the titular Pilgrim is staying with uses the wreck of the Titanic as a temporary shelter, which comes in handy when they're attacked by wasteland raiders. The raiders are wiped out, but so is the caravan, leaving the Pilgrim as the only survivor.
  • Born After the End: In the second volume, Maggy is the only child who has been born alive in the largest and best equipped known settlement in the post solar flare world. Her mother died giving birth to her and the rest of the community tends to shelter her.
  • Brick Joke: The lost case of sausages Cameron is looking for in ‘’ Garden of Eden’’. It’s a major Mood Whiplash, when he excitedly announces he found it right after the others found out the pilgrim had just cooked them the body of their dead friend and pretended it came from a carrion bird. After the sliders destroyed most of their food.
  • Catchphrase: "You and me, Lord. You and me."
    • Also Castenado's "Oh dear," which is often immediately followed by some poor bastard getting butchered Crossed-style.
  • Crapsack World: In a desertified Earth hit by the sun's expansion into a red giant, the environment is filled with hostile wildlife mutated from intense solar radiation with humanity reduced to ragged survivors who are frequently hounded by raiders. The sequel, Garden of Eden, has a group of scientists planning to launch a rocket into outer space after having analyzed the impossibility of maintaining a civilization on Earth.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Castenado at one point threatens to shove his hook up a subordinate's anus if he continues questioning him.
  • Death of a Child: 10-and-a-half-year-old Billy dies in the first miniseries, while the second miniseries has a young girl named Maggy taken over by one of the Sliders, requiring what's left of her to be put down.
  • Dirty Coward: Dirk, who makes a disgustingly quick Face–Heel Turn after the buckers capture him, as well as a few other prisoners who tried to do the same earlier.
  • Disability Superpower: Castenado's eyes have been burned out of his head by the sun. However, his hearing and sense of smell are so good, he can track a person without needing to see their spoor. How he got so hideously dismembered (Two hook-hands, two peg-legs, no eyes and no genitals) is anyone's guess.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: The biblical apocalypse has clearly begun, with the sun being much hotter, no more sea, a "dark time unlike any other before or shall ever be again," and strange and dangerous monsters and corrupt humans roaming the land. However, most people scoff at Pilgrim's faith (which is just another piece of evidence).
  • Foil: Billy’s dad and the Pilgrim, best exemplified by their respective speeches when debating whether to make a stand at the Titanic.
  • Good Shepherd: While religion itself and the Pilgrim's interpretation of it are portrayed very negatively, the chaplain who converted the Pilgrim at the asylum was a well-meaning Nice Guy who died in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Those taken over by the "Sliders" have their eyes and mouths glow yellow to show they are no longer human.
  • Good Is Not Soft: The leader of the Marianas Trench survivors is A Father to His Men with a visionary survival plan, but he also admits that he hopes a captive slider can feel the pain of being nailed to a table after the creatures killed so many of his companions in the past.
  • Good Parents: John and Carla are caring and protective to Billy and honest with him. Wwhile he does come to view the pilgrim as being able to protect him better than his parents, he regrets letting them see this.
  • Groin Attack: Used by Pilgrim against Castenado, who cheerily informs him that there's "Nothin' there!"
  • Homeworld Evacuation: The second volume has the Pilgrim discovering about a dozen surviving humans from NASA and the San Diego oceanographic institute building a rocket to leave behind Earth, which has been ravaged by a solar flare. They plan to take all the genetic samples they can carry to another recently discovered planet to start over there. Their plan suffers constant delays due to an attack by Puppeteer Parasite mutants. In the end, the rocket does take those genetic samples to a new planet, but only two of the humans make it aboard.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Pilgrim has eaten people, but he's not proud of it by a long shot.
  • Killed Offscreen: All of the Sliders' victims aren't shown killed until after the Sliders got to them.
  • Knight Templar: Pilgrim kills a Bucker (raider) as he's grovelling and repenting of his sins.
    • Even worse, the sole reason he hooked up with the refugee group was to use them as bait for Castenado's Buckers, which in the end results in the death of everyone in either group save the Pilgrim. Pilgrim sees this as just another part of his "holy mission."
  • Mark of Shame: Pilgrim branded himself on the left eye with the cross of the mental hospital chaplain (who saved his life during the Burn) when he repented.
  • New Old West: The setting resembles a very dark take on the Wild West, with bandits running rampant and no authority above village-level.
  • Noah's Story Arc: The role of the ark is taken by a space shuttle containing genetic sequences of thousands of animals so life can be started elsewhere, as the planet is now under the control of sentient mind-controlling jellyfish.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: Pilgrim's Freudian Excuse. He and the other three members of his team were stranded on a life raft for over a hundred days. He was the only survivor, and developed a taste for it.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Type "PS": Rather than being shot in the head, they have to be shot in the heart, which has been replaced by a parasite evolved from a bioluminescent jellyfish. The light from the parasite glows through a hole in the chest, and the victim's mouth and eyes.
  • Pirate: Castenado takes it to an extreme degree, being a pirate with no eyes, two peg legs, and two hook hands.
    • Sky Pirate: They use cannibalized helicopters for their raids.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Sliders are mutant jellyfish who slide into people bodies to possess them.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: When a little girl gets infected with a Slider parasite, Pilgrim finally loses his faith and shouts obscenities to God.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Subverted-the Pilgrim reverts to atheism before he dies. Given Garth Ennis's views on religion however, this may be a straight example in his eyes.
  • Red Shirt Army: All of the convoy of refugees besides Billy, his parents and Dirk (only four of the others are named and three of them after they’ve been killed). The scientists in the Marianas trench tend to have more dialogue but again several are unnamed and only two survive.
  • Ribcage Ridge: "This is where the giants came to die", on seeing the skeleton of a whale.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: With a speedboat, an Aircraft Carrier, and the Titanic. Yes, that Titanic.
  • Shout-Out: Pilgrim's entire design, his face in particular, is very reminiscent of the Saint of Killers from Preacher. Not that surprising since Ennis wrote both comics.
  • Sole Surviving Scientist: Most of the characters in the second volume, who are trying to finish the final preparations for a Homeworld Evacuation before the sliders can wipe them out.
  • Uncertain Doom: One of the remaining Marianas Trench survivors, a man in a cap who is seen working on the helicopter and standing around in the background a few times, is alive when the Pilgrim and his two companions leave to try and rescue Maggy and is never shown among the slider-possessed people when they return to camp. However, he also isn't shown hiding onboard the rocket, so it's likely he was Killed Offscreen.
  • Wasteland Elder:
    • In the original story, Billy's Cowboy father is the voice of reason among a group of refugees traveling across the former Atlantic Ocean (which has been evaporated by a solar flare) in search of water and refuge from Wasteland Warlord Castenado.
    • The sequel story features an oceanologist leading a small settlement at the planet's last known oasis while preparing for a Homeworld Evacuation.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Dirk is convinced that he is The Hero despite being a Small Name, Big Ego Dirty Coward. Admittedly the Pilgrim isn't much more heroic.