Prep the steak.
It’s getting harder to review After Death. I am not even sure I can clearly articulate what it is that is keeping me going but knowing me, I will give it that old college try.
If you have read book one, or atleast our review of book one – then expect more of the same. The same artistic risk taking has continued over from book one and that makes it a solid second chapter in terms of consistency – at least on the art and composition front. Lyrically, I say because at times that what Scott Snyder’s words felt like – I thought it was a massive step up. Within the first couple of pages Scott sets up a unique look at this world and how it operates. After last installments morsels of information, it flows in at a much steadier pace in this book. Scott has done an exceptional job I felt on this front, the way he describes how stealing something works in this world is quite imaginative I felt. There is a page describing what stealing is like in this world, and coupled with Jeff’s clean panel layout and style of disseminating information, all this material coming at you never feels rushed or a sensory overload.
While the previous chapter was more about what had happened to Jonah, this one is about the kind of person he is. It delves into the depths of Jonah’s motivation and why he does the things that he does. Or how the events that are described in the first book essentially changed him or made him who he is. As the timeline is coming to close to catching up with him in the present – well almost catching up as the story jumps between points 800 years apart, give or take – we get a better sense of relationships he had before the cure of this pesky little problem called death. One particularly interesting one is Jonah’s relationship with an astronaut. That little story serves to show us the full spectrum of Jonah’s character, who he is, how he thinks under pressure and the fact that well, he isn’t really a bad guy. This little backstory also sets up what I feel is the most important part of this story – plot wise – how the cure of death came about and the role Jonah played in it.
As I harped on last time, the dreamlike quality of this book is its biggest strength. It draws you in and lulls you in feeling the story rather than reading. I found it quite emotionally engaging, but not really thought provoking. The story really doesn’t – or maybe hasn’t delved into the consequences of the having beaten death. I mean, it’s there in little doses, but nothing to actually answer why this world seems to be on the brink.
The story is still light on details. I have so many questions that are left unanswered from the first book and the second book adds even more. It’s frustrating to a degree that with only one book left, will I be able to get all the answers I need. But with the lyrical ability of Scott and the minimalistic art of Jeff its an intensely engrossing read and it leaves you wanting more. You feel like you are only seeing this world through a pin hole and you can’t wait to learn more.
*Slightly spoiler-y questions follow*
How did the mad billionaire use a thief to cure death? What does the terms we are stuck up here actually mean? Why can they only have a lifetime of memories before they are reset? These are just some of the tantalizing questions set up by this story, and I can’t wait to see it reach its conclusion. We can’t recommend this book enough – there is nothing like it in the market right now and if you are looking for an engaging, ethereal and exciting story drawn by two of the best in the business, After Death will steal your heart.