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Priest (manhwa)

Priest (Hangul: 프리스트) is an ongoing manhwa (Korean comic) series created by Hyung Min-woo. It fuses the Western genre with supernatural horror and is notable for its unusual, angular art style. An interview with Hyung in Priest: Volume 3 states that the comic was inspired by the computer game Blood, which featured a similar horror-Western aesthetic and undead protagonist.

Priest is published in English by TOKYOPOP.

Story

Priest tells the story of humanity's battle against 12 fallen angels, led by the archangel Temozarela. Despite having fought for God in the battle against Lucifer, Temozarela and his cohorts shortly thereafter found that God had lost interest in them. Upon finding God has focused his attention on humans they decide to rebel against God in light of God's favoritism towards the human race. They descend upon Earth to 'play God' among the humans who build a temple and statues for them. For their rebellion and acts against humanity, God destroyed their temple and their statues were cast underground, with their souls being trapped within the statues.

Centuries later, there lives a Holy Knight called Vascar De Gullion, a killer of heretics in the name of God. After his wife and children were burned alive, Vascar De Gullion 'loses faith' and wanders the earth in a 'blood rage,' leaving a wake of slaughter wherever he goes. His journey comes to an end when he discovers a hidden cave with the statues of the 12 fallen angels. Temozarela talks Vascar De Gullion into giving his body to him in the hopes of gaining revenge on God.

It is again centuries later that Vascar De Gullion is found alive and sentenced to be judged as a Heretic by Betheal, a powerful priest. Upon dealing with Vascar De Gullion, Betheal discovers from Vascar De Gullion that he is not who he is meant to be, but rather Temozarela. Temozarela plays with Betheal's only pride and joy in life, a child he saved from a heretic sacrifice. The fallen angel manipulates the child into brutally slaughtering a young woman, taking her arms and heart, and setting up a blasphemous ritual room with her blood. Once Betheal sees what his child had done, he instead sees Temozarela laughing and ends up killing the child with his own hands. Betheal loses faith in God also and Temozarela takes Betheal under his wing as one of his disciples. Instead of turning in favor of Temozarela, Betheal acts as the Judas in this story, betraying Temozarela. Betheal devotes his life to study a way to trap Temozarela so that people can be free from him. This came in heretic invention of the Domas Porada. Betheal's body is needed to be the key in keeping the lock on this 'cage' locked. With his soul trapped inside the Domas Porada, Betheal enters a new life altogether with the power he gained from turning away from God. He is a now a kind of demon, called Belial.

Ivan Isaacs, the hero, is called upon to solve the puzzle that the Domas Porada presents. Upon solving it Ivan is cast onto a cross after witnessing his only love, Gena, die in his arms. It is then that Belial takes Ivan, who in the madness of losing Gena denounces God. Ivan is reborn as an immortal serving Belial. Because of Gena's death Ivan devotes himself for vengeance against Temozarela and his men.

The Priest story spans three distinct time periods; modern times, the Crusades and the Wild West, although it is primarily focused on the last period. Whilst featuring a large cast of heroes, anti-heroes and villains, a number of which enjoying in depth and detailed character development within the plot, the lead antagonist of Priest is Temozarela, whilst the main protagonist is Ivan Isaacs, a now immortal, 19th century priest who sold his soul to Belial, a former priest turned devil, in the pursuit of revenge and redemption after unwittingly unleashing Temozarela from the Domas Porada, a prison of sorts constructed by Belial (then Betheal) to imprison Temozarela.

Characters

Main

Ivan Isaacs

The main protagonist of Priest. He was in an orphanage until he was adopted by Mister Isaac's, a wealthy farm owner as a companion for his daughter after his wifes death. He was fond of ancient stories and myths, and spent his time researching, being given his own library, and trying to get along with Gena Isaac's, eventually falling in love with her. After reminding her of her mother, they became closer and best friends, doing many things together. However, when Mister Isaac's found out, he reprimanded Ivan who commented he was just a friend for Gena and not his actual son. His father then sent him off to a boarding school called Conrad to get him away from Gena.

He returned after becoming a priest to visit. However, because of an essay he wrote while training to become a priest he came to the attention of a special branch of the Roman Catholic Church. This branch then approached him after he had become a priest to help unlock the secrets of an artifact called the Domas Porada, a prison which contains Temozarela, and Belial, who sealed himself in there in a battle with Temozarela.

Ivan meets and gets along with the other researchers on the Domas Porada, studying on his own for long periods of time. His first major contribution is that the writing on the Domas Porada was actually backwards and in the language of the Balkans, although they only exist in 'heretic literature' according to one researcher. Ivan then reads the inscription which reads as a warning not to open the Domas Porada. After this, Piestro is impressed and gives a book to Ivan which details the history of a knight and Belial.

Ivan then finds out that Temozarela is the one trapped and tells the story of Vascar De Guillon and Temozarela. After this, the researchers tell him they want to stop the research since this is boardering on heresy. Ivan protests but Piestro agrees and tells them to send emmissaries to the Vatican. Piestro then decides to kill all the researchers apart from Ivan, telling him they left out of outrage and he is the only one left.

After reading through a book, he finds blood in it and confronts Piestro who admits his true plans, to let Temozarela free. At this revelation, he is knocked out and tied to a chair. Temozarela, realising that Ivan could break him out of the prison, told Piestro to sacrifice Gena, Isaac's sister and love, in front of the Domas Porada. This causes Ivan to go into a stupor and attempt to open the Domas Porada from insanity. He succeeds and is transported inside the Domas Porada where he sees Temozarela imprisoned and Belial standing watch. Belial reprimands Isaac for what he did as the archangel breaks free, albeit hindered by Belial.

Ivan is put back in front of the Domas Porada and blood spews from it coating him. After Piestro and the others express joy, Ivan turns and tells them the truth. Immiedietly afterwards, chains whip out and enter Ivan hooking him upwards and tie him to a wooden cross, taking the place of Temozarela.

After Belial fights and loses to Temozarela, he goes to Ivan who realises what he has done and agrees to give half of his soul to Belial in exchange for revenge. Afterwards, he seems to forget this and simply returns to the mansion. After Belial confronts him and tells him the truth, Ivan slaughters a group of zombies raised by an unknown figure, including Gena.

Ivan now stalks the west as an undead creature sustained solely by his infinite rage. Indeed in numerous encounters it is shown that his strength is directly related to his anger. Where his inhuman strength fails, he uses a variety of weapons, including a bowie knife he coats with blessed silver and silver bullets in a sawn-off shotgun, and a Thompson sub-machine gun (one of many anachronistic firearms in the series).

Ivan then embarks on a quest to destroy the thirteen angels. He successfully defeats countless minions and also slays Jarbilong, being defeated himself by Achmode who devoured Ivan's right arm. Ivan is given Achmode's blasted arm after he is punished with death by Armand, a fellow - yet much stronger - Fallen Angel.

As he continues to make his way across the west, he finally comes to fight Armand himself, only to be dealt a debilitating wound on his heart, which saps his rage and emotion from him. This is a near fatal blow for both Ivan and Belial, who depend on Ivan's unquenchable rage to keep up his supernatural powers. Netraphim comes to him and heals him as best she could, but unable to stop the bleeding completely. It is only with her last words to him, along with Belial's taunts, that Ivan is able to regain the will to fight, his rage at full force once more. At the end, he reveals that his true goal is to stand in front of Temozarela, so that he can see Ivan's full anger. This is why he does not stop being Temozarela's puppet in the proceedings. Because of his defeat by Armand, he retires himself to being a spectator in the coming 'feast', musing that it will be different to watch instead of act, for now.

Betheal Gavarre (Belial)

Belial was originally an inquisitor in the medieval church called Betheal. However, he eventually comes to preside over the case of the possessed Vascar de Guillon, who has been captured. Temozarela, inside Vascar's body, influences Betheal's adoptive son, Matthew, to slaughter one of the women at the monastery where he and Betheal are staying. Betheal, on hearing his son confess this, becomes enraged and strangles him, seeing only the corruption of Temozarela inside him.

Temozarela had orchestrated this to shatter Betheal's faith and had succeeded. In remorse and in rage, Betheal sacrifices himself to become the devil Belial by condemning his faith and renouncing God. However, instead of joining Temozarela, Betheal uses his new power to fight against him, eventually imprisoning himself, and Temozarela in the Domas Porada to keep him from the world. Later, after the Domas Porada is opened, he offers a deal to the imprisoned Ivan Isaacs, which the insane priest agrees to, leaving Belial's mark of a cross in a circle branded on his forehead.

Gena Isaacs

The natural daughter of the man who adopted Isaacs. Gena eventually falls in love with Ivan despite being his adoptive sister, but is killed by those influenced by Temozarela.

The natural daughter of Mister Isaacs, a ranch owner who adopted Ivan, Gena's mother died when she was very young and her father decided to adopt to keep her company. After they arrive at the ranch, Gena is excited to have a sibling but finds out it's a boy, instead of a girl which she was expecting. She promptly kicks Ivan in the shin before running away, and constantly antagonises him. After she almost got him in trouble during dinner and was punished, Ivan visited her and gave her some of the desert she was denied. In exchange, Ivan asked her to tell him about her mother, since he never knew his, and after trying to explain to him, she begins to like him.

Ivan himself is unsure of when he fell in love with her, but they did somewhere in their teens and at the same time discovered it was wrong. Gena helped Ivan train Jupiter, Ivan's future horse given to him by Belial, and was deeply in love with him. However, when her father discovered about their love, he sent Ivan off to a seminaryl to keep them apart. Just before he left, Gena told him 'I won't ever be happy until you return' and he went.

A few years later, Ivan returns from the seminary to find Gena waiting for him. By this time, Mister Isaacs is dead and Gena has inherited the ranch. She asks Ivan if he detests their father and he says no, saying he understood why it couldn't have been easy for him. Gena admits she did and has been waiting for him all this time, even keeping his library exactly the way it is in memory. She admits she was waiting for him and Ivan realises that it was true she had never been truly happy.

However, during this time Ivan gets visited by the Order of St Vertinez and Gena feels shunned by him. When he gets hired to open the Domas Porada, Gena asks for him to decide between her and the Order, and he chooses the order.

Gena is next seen about to be sacrificed for Temozarela when Ivan has cracked the Domas Porada puzzle. She is used by the Order of St Vertinez to make Ivan finally snap and release Temozarela. It is revealed they did this by sending Father Pietro to tell Gena that Ivan wanted to return to her and stay with Gena forever. She is killed while calling Ivan's name and it is revealed that one day, while she was out with Ivan, Gena asked him to be the final person she saw since she believed when people die their last image remains with them forever. Gena dies in Isaac's arms.

After Isaac has sold his soul to Belial, he takes Gena's body and brings her back to the ranch with all the servants and horses killed. He dresses her in a dress and laments over her. However, Belial appears and he leaves her to talk with him. At this time, an unknown figure, possibly a servant of Temozarela, appears and raises the dead of a nearby graveyard. Ivan sees them and runs back to the house back to Gena. There, he finds several zombies feeding on her, and he snaps once more.

Ivan carves up the zombies with a scythe but before he finishes them off, Gena comes back to life as a zombie. She pleads with him to love her still, but he refuses at Belial's words and instead stabs her with the scythe. Gena keeps on asking why as Ivan decapitates her with the scythe finally ending her life. When he finishes killing the zombies, he takes her corpse and buries her in a makeshift grave with a cross at the head and leaves.

Gena later appears as Ivan is about to be killed by Achmode. Ivan finally begins to accept death and we see Gena in a field in front of him, before Armandiel saves him. She also appeared as a hallucination to Lizzie, saying nothing and just touching her heart, covered in blood, after Lizzie almost gave in to Temozarela.

Lizzie

Lizzie was the head of a gang of outlaws. She was caught by the authorities and was to be taken by train to be hanged. However, the train was also carrying a cargo of bodies for Jarbilong, along with Ivan Isaacs. After the gang massacre most of the train, they try to steal whatever is in the cargo and in turn get massacred, with all the members being killed by a lone one.

After the first lot are killed by Ivan Isaacs, he warns her to get off the train, and that he won't be merciful the next time. She then jumps off the train which is then blown up by Ivan, and loses consciousness. After burying her comrades, she takes up a shotgun and goes to Saint Baldlas to get revenge.

She witnesses Ivan fighting Jarbilong and in the process gets bitten by one of the zombies. Jarbilong spots Lizzie and is about to convert her properly, but is killed before he is able. After the battle, Ivan visits her and threatens that unless she kills herself before the curse takes hold, next time he will kill her.

Lizzie then wakes up in a cell about to be hanged as a witch. Before they can lynch her, she is saved by Coburn, a Federal Marshall. After explaining to Coburn what happened in Saint Baldlas, and telling him about Ivan Isaacs, Coburn takes her with him to find Ivan. On the road, the plague inside her threatens to erupt to the surface. However, Father Lucian, a priest travelling with Coburn, manages to keep it under control. During this, she sees Gena in a hallucination/vision and asks her questions, however receives no answers. Afterwards, she explains to Coburn how she cannot go on living and decides to give up on life. In response, Coburn tells her how he knew her father, and that he wouldn't talk like that.

Later, they find Ivan Isaacs who jumps into a ravine, with Lizzie following. During her recovery she asks Ivan for help but he ignores her, telling her 'Why do you ask me questions which God himself doesn't answer?' She tries to coerce him by using her similarity to Gena, but Ivan gets angry and threatens to kill her. He decides against it and gives her all he can give. 'Rage'.

After this, she cuts her long hair and goes talk to a mysterious clan who she knew as a child. She chooses to ally herself to this clan by telling the leader what desease his son has, which is Temozarela's. However, she tells him it's Ivan's fault to get them to help her in her quest. This possibly is killing Ivan Isaacs.

Coburn

Coburn is a cynical atheist federal marshall hired by the government to find out what is going concerning Ivan and Temozarela. He first appears to save Lizzie from being hung as a witch after Jarbilong's work on Saint Baldas and subsequently hire her to help him find Isaac. He later appears trying to track down Ivan over a desert and during this Coburn reveals to Lizzie how he knew her father, and how he escaped by jumping off a ravine. During Ivan's battle with Achmode, the group comes across Little Bosack to find it a ruin inhabited only by corpses. Father Lucian stops to pray for the souls, but every corpse suddenly comes alive and attacks them. Coburn shows himself skilled in fighting, using two guns and a whip to destroy the zombies. After escaping, they meet Ivan at the other side of a ravine.

Coburn demands Ivan gives himself up for questioning, and Cairo then shoots at him, against the protests of Father Lucian. During this, Coburn shows his mean side remarking 'I don't tell you how to pray'. However, Ivan responds by jumping into the ravine, causing Coburn to cry out 'Why the hell does everyone I try to capture throw themselves into ravines?!' and try to follow him. However, Father Lucian persuades him not too, just before Lizzie jumps after Ivan.

After Cairo is killed by the Order of St Vertinez, the same group which released Temozarela, Coburn calls in orders for reinforcements, although his use for them is unknown. After this, they then go to Windtale and try to persuade the Mayor that his town is next to be plagued by Temozarela. However, their pleas fall on deaf ears, and Coburn leaves, remarking 'Either way, this town is doomed'.

Cairo

Cairo is an indian travelling with Coburn because he once saved Cairo's life. He doesn't say much at first, preferring to use his knives in situations. He is seen to be very skilled with them, able to hurl them with deadly accuracy. He appears to be an expert tracker, being sent ahead to find out where Ivan Isaacs is. Later, he sees members of St. Vertinez kill a small child from an infected village, and attacks them. He kills most of them before his arm is cut off by A thrown spinning knife. He continues fighting and is then killed by Antione, a member of St Vertinez with a hook for a hand. Afterwards, he is brutally dismembered. Seeing this, Coburn renounces the Vatican and says 'From now on, the cross will only be the sign of the enemy to me'.

Father Lucian

He is a priest assigned to Coburn by the Vatican to help in his endeavors into the wild west. He is very calm and collected, preferring pacifist methods instead of violence. While Lizzie is with them, the plague starts to surface and he heals her temporarily with holy water and prayer. After they find Ivan Isaacs, he reveals that Betheal Gavarre is the one in control of Ivan to Coburn and the rest of his comrades. When Cairo fires on Ivan, the latter catching the bullet, Lucian protest but is stopped by Coburn's threat, before he persuades the federal marshal not to jump off the cliff after Ivan.

When the group comes across Small Bosack, Father Lucian stops to pray and unintentionally sparks off the plague in all the bodies causing them to rise. After Cairo is killed, he attempts to offer christian burial rites but is stopped by Coburn, the marshal dictating he doesn't want to hear anymore words of the church. Lucian later appears with Coburn to try and persuade the townsfolk of Windtale to allow federal government forces, but to no avail.

Novic

Novic is a civil war veteran mute who wields a gatling gun. He appears to be somewhat edgy and likes to use his gun, accidentally using it next to Coburn's ear.

The Fallen Angels

Temozarela

Temozarela is an arch-angel who fought on God's side in the war against Lucifer. However, this war caused God to lose faith in the angels and prefer humanity instead.

Temozarela, bitter at this, took twelve angels who felt the same way as he did to Earth to prove to God how flawed humans are. To do this he set up a cult to him and his angels which involved human sacrifice. However, this only made God angry and caused Temozarela to be banished to earth and imprisoned.

Years later, the story focuses on a Knight Templar called Vascar de Guillon who fought in the crusades and led the 12 most feared armies in Christiandom. However, his wife contracted a plague and the doctors and priests deemed her possessed by the devil. In turn, they set fire to their castle along with his wife and their two children. Upon hearing news of this, Vascar lost his faith in God and denounced him. However, he continued leading the crusades, reducing them to 'one mans quest for blood' in his rage. Soon however, it was halted when he discovered a hidden underground cavern which was a prison for Temozarela and his desciples. Temozarela explains why he was cast down, and how he and Vascar were both betrayed by God. In his fury, he gives his body to Temozarela who releases his angels and uses them to possess the knights which came with Vascar. They subsequently took control of the symbols of the 12 houses, taking them for their own.

100 years later Temozarela then tried to seduce Betheal, but Betheal resists and eventually imprisons both himself and Temozarela in the Domas Porada. At the end of the 6th Volume, we see the flashbacks of the past where Temozarela is freed from the Domas Porada and in the 7th Volume where Temozarela notices his weakened state (likely due to being imprisoned). He and Belial skirmish which results in Temozarela's body being horribly incinerated, yet he is saved from death by several of his Dark Apostles, consisting of Netraphim, , Jarbilong, Achmode, and Armand, and taken away to be fully restored. At the end of Volume 7 he is left as little more than a blasted skeleton with barely any flesh left on the bones, yet still alive.

He next appears at Achmode's death in volume 10, where he projects an image of himself from his castle to Achmode's and declares his displeasment at Achmode's treachery. While not taking any major actions since, he appears at various times in the story to communicate with various characters through a circle on a floor that depicts the circle of sabbath. He also seems to have gained more strength since volume 7 in the way he is no longer constrained to his seat where he was previously seen regenerating by absorbing helpless victims' energies in volume 3.

Temozarela seems to want Ivan to continue his 'pilgrimage' as he gives non-lethal powers to Jarbilong and slays Achmode after he wounded Ivan terribly, even eating his arm. This indicates that Temozarela wants Ivan to continue his quest for blood, and that he is doing what Temozarela wants. However, Belial tells Ivan this, but he still continues. When asked, he replies that he just wants to stand in front of Temozarela, against everything, to show the full extent of his hatred.

Jarbilong

Jarbilong is one of the twelve Angels who along with Temozarela rebelled against God. He possessed a young priest which he describes as 'his soul was weak' with which he used his bidding He was also present at Temozarela's release from the Domas Paroda, but played little part in the following battles with Belial most likely due to the nature of his abilities. After this event he turns the townspeople of Saint Baldlas into zombies, slaves to his will and fights against Ivan Isaacs.

His power stems from the 'gift' of being able to merge his spirit with any of his disciples at will, meaning he can essentially swap bodies and avoid fatal blows. Ivan overcame this with the power of Voodoo magic which inflicted damage on all Jarbilong's servants by striking at his soul instead of his body. Ultimately, wounded and with his life failing, the 11th Angel revealed his hideous true form by ripping out of the mortal priests back. In human form, Jarbilong rarely opened his eyes, keeping them closed almost all the time. This is because in his demonic form his eyes were revealed to been removed and sewn shut.

In this form, Jarbilong was more than a match for Ivan and impaled him on one of his arms. However, Belial then took over Ivan and defeated Jarbilong. He was eventually impaled upon his own blades, and Ivan tore off his head. In his final moments before dying, he says that Temozarela could destroy Ivan if he wanted to, but he must have plans for him, and he wished to find out why.

Achmode

The second Fallen Angel to battle Ivan on his pilgrimage, Achmode fancies himself an artist and a beast all at once. After turning a village into mindless zombies feasting on one another, Achmode mutilates some of them and changes them into towering undead killers and winged monstrosites, expressing his twisted artistic sense.

After fighting his way through Achmode's make-shift angels, Ivan is confronted by Christine, Achmode's latest work, a child deformed into a hawk-like form. Achmode offers Ivan a glimpse of Christine's "dream", a retelling of the heretical angels' fall. When Ivan overcomes and kills Christine with the help of Belial, Achmode is further enraged by Belial's insults about his 'glorious past' being little more than mindless instinct. Achmode decides to kill Ivan himself, despite Temozarela's orders to the contrary.

In the battle that follows, Ivan's best efforts to destroy Achmode aren't enough, and Belial demands that Ivan turn complete control of his body over to him. Ivan refuses to give up what little is left of his control for any reason, even after the monsterous Achmode bit off his arm. As Achmode is about to finish Ivan off, Armandiel, Temozarela's lieutenant, intervenes. He accuses Achmode of betraying their lord after his many years of service and slays him, saying 'He does not resent your foolish yearning to enter heaven'. In a bizarre twist, Armandiel grants Ivan the severed arm of Achmode to replace his, saying that it will make him more than human and give him an actual chance of fulfilling his goal.

Armand/Armandiel

One of the Fallen Angels seen as one of the three who rescue a burnt Temozarela from the Domas Porada, he is depicted as a handsome, almost effeminate young man with long, straight hair, wearing 19th century formal wear, including a tophat, an enormous wing-collar cape, and an elaborate waistcoat. He first appears to give Jarbilong his orders and advice on how to fight Ivan and Belial, later appearing on top of a cliff seemingly happy at Jarbilong's defeat and commenting how this was a good thing. Possibly the most powerful of the Fallen Angels, especially considering his status of High Priest in Temozarela's Black Sabbath, he is able to dispatch Ivan with ease with his rapier. He also is able to distract opponents with roses and the folds of his cape. Though he initially is Ivan's ally in destroying Achmode, he later delivers a debilitating wound to Ivan that not even Belial is able to heal. He appears to have a somewhat disdainful opinion of Netraphim, calling her "hypocrite."

Netraphim

Another of the Fallen Angels who looks like a young woman and is accompanied by Bendo, a giant Wolf she gave life after he and his pack were killed. Her alias is 'Nera' and she cares for the unfortunate and the different in the valley of Windtale, going against Temozarela's orders to do so.

It is revealed that in heaven she tried to stop Temozarela from accessing heaven's exit, and in response had her wings ripped off. She asked to be killed as she was torn between her love for God and her secret attraction to Temozarela, born of her pity for his fate. Her life was spared and she joined Temozarela's angels. However, on Earth after seeing the young orphan Dana (whose sight she eventually took away), Netraphim decided to go back and make up for her sins.

Armand delivers his masters word to Bendo saying that her defiance is all well and good, that Temozarela will not punish her for it as long as her conviction is set...but if she so much as utters a single word of regret or remorse she will be destroyed. For the moment it seems that her powers are to do with illusions, other than her spirit wolf Bendo.

When her "family" is killed, betrayed by one of their own, she then allows herself to be hanged by angry townspeople. Before she dies, Temozarela comes to her and offers her a place by his side, provided she declares her regret at ever existing. However, she refuses him and is killed, leaving Windtale without a guardian and another of Temozarela's strongholds destroyed. Beforehand she told Bendo he was free, and it is unknown what fate reserves for him and any potential impacts he may have on the story later on.

Unnamed Figure

This man was seen during the events of Ivans fall from grace, for once Gena had been murdered and the Domas Paroda had been opened a man swathed in bandages bearing a staff tipped with a symbol like a 'II' in Roman Numerals and a lantern arrives. The staff apparently secretes a fluid which, after offering a blessing, he digs into the ground to release the zombies. These dead then eventually come to try and devour Gena before Ivan carves them to pieces. After this, his lantern shatters setting fire to the graveyard and then the mansion. He walks away prophesising 'Ivan Isaacs, we will meet again one day'. As the 'II' symbol occupies a space on Temozarela's cirle (seen often relating to the demise of Jarbilong and Archmode) it is possible this man is another Fallen Angel or servant of Temozarela.

The Order of St. Vertinez

This is an organisation created by the vatican to carry out what Coburn describes as 'the vatican's dirty laundry'. Their real name is Michael's Sword. They have the authority, in times of need, to take matters into their own hands even without the Pope's knowledge. They are heavily judgemental, killing anyone who disagrees with them in service to the Church. So far, only 4 members have been named. Their uniform is usually a white hooded robe with some wearing masks over their mouths. They use knives, guns and swords to fight. Several of their trademark blades are found embedded in servants and horses when Ivan returns to the Isaac's ranch.

Father Raul Piestro

Father Piestro is the head priest of Saint Vertinez at the time before Temozarel was released. He is first seen coming to Ivan's home to speak to him about an essay he submitted about the idealogy in the church. Piestro explains that he was part of the investigation into Ivan Isaac's after he submitted his paper on ancient religions, revealing that he was absolutely correct and that he was only reprimanded to stop further research. He then asks Ivan to come help them solve a puzzle which has all their experts puzzled. The Domas Porada.

During the research, Piestro reveals that his mentor, Father Ashley, led the investigation before but during it he went crazy and killed all the other researchers, before killing himself. This drove Piestro to do the research himself. After the other researchers start to suspect his integrity, they send two of themselves to ask the Vatican for help. However, they are killed by agents of St. Vertinez, the remaining ones following the same fate apart from Ivan.

After finding blood in one of the books, Ivan confronts Piestro and is then knocked out. The head of St. Vertinez explains to him how he was visited by Temozarela in a dream and that he believes the archangel was sent to bring a new message from God. He then brings Gena Isaacs, Ivan's adopted sister and love, killing her.

When the Domas Porada is opened, Temozarela kills all the members of St. Vertinez, before turning to Piestro and killing him in a gruesome manner, remarking 'Did you not ask to be rid of sin or desire?'

Father Joshua

One of possible current leader of St. Vertinez at the moment, Joshua was recruited by Father Raul Piestro where he found Joshua in an asylum. The asylum was run by a Doctor Gerrard who was commissioned by St. Vertinez to create a new supersoldier for use, Joshua being one of only 3 who survived the process. He has brought a huge number of members of the Order to make an army, though why is unknown. He is first seen praying at a ruined shrine with another priest, Antoine. Later, he is with with a group of St. Vertinez members who wipe out an entire village which was infected by Temozarela's plague. After a child escapes, possibly uninfected, they kill him, accusing them all of heresy. After Cairo, an indian travelling with Coburn, sees this, he descends on the Order and starts killing them. During this, Joshua hurls a knife which cuts off his arm. After this, he rejoins the main force of the army. He appears to have designs of various crosses all over his body.

Joshua appears quite indifferent when a member of St. Vertinez dies, remarking only 'Presume them martyrs'.

Father Antoine

Another possible leader of St. Vertinez, this priest has a marine style haircut and has a hook instead of his left hand. He was held in the same asylum as Joshua and Baston, being the second priest to survive out of all the rest before being recruited by Piestro. He is first seen praying with Father Joshua, and joins him in fighting Cairo. In the battle, knives are thrown into his forehead and chest, and he is presumed dead. Later in the battle however, he returns to fight, the wounds affecting him to no end. Antione then kills Cairo and rejoins the main force. This seems to be the effects of the asylum's experiments which gave him super-regenerative capabilities.

Brother Baston

Baston was recruited by Piestro from the same asylum where he was apparently the best subject, surpassing all of the tests given to him by Doctor Gerrard and becoming the strongest of the 3 surviving priests. However he seems to have trouble controlling this as he loses control once and they must subdue him. From the experiments he gained heightened senses and super physical strength, presumably along with regeneration.

Volume List

Cultural Impact

Movie Adaptation

Priest was going into production as a movie by U.S. film studio Screen Gems. To be released in 2008, it was going to be produced by Sam Raimi, directed by Andrew Douglas, and would star Gerard Butler as the title character. However recent news has reported that both Butler and Raimi have dropped out of the project leaving the future of the film adaption of Priest unknown. Many fans of the manhwa are actually pleased about this, as the information released on the movie indicated that the story had been changed to a degree that it was unrecognizable, and had become more of a standard vampire hunter movie. .Many hope that it can now be resurrected but with a new script that actually makes some use of the original story ideas.

Game Adaptation

Priest was being developed as an MMORPG by a Korean game publisher; see also Priest (computer game). As of July 2007, the project has been labeled as canceled.

Other Reference

It has been rumoured by fans of Dream Theater, a progressive metal band, that the band has referenced the story on their latest album, Systematic Chaos. The two-part song "In the Presence of Enemies" features a storyline patterned after Priest's plotline, with lyrics that are paraphrases and even direct quotes by the characters, as spoken in the official English translation of Volume 1. The similarities have been extensively noted by some Dream Theater fans. This influence was later confirmed by John Petrucci, who wrote the lyrics.

See also

Notes

External links

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