I have grown quite comfortable with reading back catalogues of graphic novels. Waiting patiently for comic titles to be collected into a trade paper back, or letting a story slip my mind for a year till it magically appears on the libraries shelves. The upside is simple. Money. The downside, the spoilers of hearing the big comic news long before it reaches my hands. You know what? For the most part, I’m cool with it. Hearing about Doc Ock taking over Spider-man’s body long before I got the chance to read it took nothing away from the story. Heck, sometimes I am reading a graphic novel and something major happens that I forgot I had heard about, or didn’t know was in this particular book.
So, it has been a long time since I have had to be at the comic store on new comic book day. Last Wednesday, I had no choice, I had to be there. I needed a copy of Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire’s new project as soon as I possibly could. Because, well, it’s Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire. Together. On one book. 2011 Green Onion’s head just exploded.
A.D.: After Death is a three issue series, with book one being released last week, November 23 ‘016. Scott Snyder, writer of Wytches and Batman, scribes this powerful series. While Jeff Lemire produces the fully painted panels. For the first time Lemire is strictly the artist concentrating on fantastic artwork that is his best work to date.
Set in a near future, After Death follows the lead of Jonah Cooke as he navigates a world where death has been cured. Book one focuses on his pain of losing loved ones and a past before the cure was discovered. Jonah struggles with this new world, questioning everything including his own morality. He seems to be the only human trying to hold onto life before immortality.
The comic combines classic comic story telling with pages full of prose. Giving us a depth into the mind of Jonah, and a broader story. It is evident while reading this that Mr. Snyder has thought this difficult future fully through. Dancing a delicate line between science fiction and a thought provoking piece on humanity.
The artwork is brilliant, with splashes of water colour throughout the pages. Mr. Lemire has an uncanny ability to bring heart into his artwork that adds layers upon layers to the overall story. It is a prize to not only see a piece that he can focus on the art, but that it is combined with such a talented writer that I do not miss his storytelling at all.
The big piece of this masterful puzzle is the questions that this dynamic duo are asking. What would a world like this be like? Would you want to live forever? Would it be worth it? This book is full of existential themes handled in a way that nobody is answering the bigger questions for you.
I went into this book with high expectations. These are two artists that I have a lot of respect for. If there were two comic creators I would lock in a room to create whatever their minds come up with, I don’t think I would have thought of a better combination. And the results are better than I could have hoped for. Book 2 will see its release on December 28, and you can be certain I will get my copy that day. I am going to withhold rating this book until the full three book series is complete. But, I absolutely recommend picking up this book as soon as possible. Such a unique story, headed by such talent is not something you want to miss.
Thanks booknerds, so, would you want to be cured of death?