The weird gets weirder in The Life After #2.
Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov explores the strange world of suicide Purgatory, where the main protagonist Jude has found himself. Luckily for Jude he has a guide in the form of Ernest Hemingway, who like Jude is “awake.” Hemingway explains a bit about the place in which Jude has found himself and why people are jumping off bridges -– mainly because that is how they ended up in suicide Purgatory in the first place. The Life After #2: is it good?
The Life After #2 (Oni Press)
Hemingway’s explanation turns into a minor plot hole since not every individual committed suicide by jumping off a bridge; one of the characters does not even appear to be following in the same steps that led him to suicide Purgatory.
Jude is absolutely dumbfounded, still in shock about how he got to where he is. Hemingway cuts him little slack and infuses the book with some light-hearted humor, referring to Jude as “my only company in an infinity and he’s a moron.” Fialkov maintains Hemingway’s carefree attitude throughout the book, referencing Hemingway’s war history and comparing the world he now finds himself in as “chicken shit” compared to the life he lived.
If it was not clear in the first book, Fialkov explains Jude’s powers very well: whenever he touches a person or alien, he is able to peer into their previous life whether it is a young boy who tosses himself off a bridge after being bullied in school or a dude who is the fifth wheel on a drive to a drug-fueled sex romp on the beach. The weirdness really kicks in when Fialkov and artist Gabo introduce what can only be described as purple spirits on the hunt for Hemingway and Jude. Not only are there creepy purple spirits, but also a group of Truman Show-like computer programmers who seem to control multiple levels of life including the one Jude finds himself occupying. The level of weird does not stop there.
Gabo shows an amazing sequence where Jude is attacked by the purple spirits. While his body is being stretched in five different directions, Jude uses his power to transport the reader into a very different setting with monsters of all shapes and sizes, one with a hand on the tip of their tongue with an eye in the middle of the hand and another with a large mouth filled with razor sharp teeth for a stomach. The reader really has no idea what is happening in this sequence except it is extremely freaky. A monster appears to tear off the top of own his head and begins devouring it, while a dog-like creature feasts on what appears to be a man’s throat. All the while Jude’s body takes on an ethereal form and begins to split apart. To call the artwork trippy is an understatement.
Fialkov and Gabo still aren’t finished there, though. They continue amping up the weird and leave their biggest reveal for the very end.
Is It Good?
The Life After #2 is a very entertaining issue with increasing levels of weirdness adding to the likeability factor. If you are looking for a crazy, trippy, “who really knows what is happening adventure,” this book delivers.
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