A little bit of office turmoil, a not so joyous reunion, and a journey through some collapsing tunnels are just a few things you will see in The Life After #7. Is it good?
The Life After #7 (Oni Press)
Joshua Hale Fialkov seems to be making it a trend in this arc to flashback and world build all the while keeping us even more confused as we continue to wonder about what is actually happening in the world of Jude and Ernest Hemingway.
After reuniting Nettie with Jude and Ernest, Fialkov has decided to split the trio up once more. Nettie stays with the giant god bunny and her daughter while Jude and Ernest are marching through the tunnels. The split doesn’t help the pacing of the book, giving it a fragmented feel; Fialkov jumps between characters too often, not giving them enough panel time to continue to develop and grow. He is juggling four distinct storylines at this point. It also reduces the time readers have to connect with the characters. There is an extremely emotional scene with Nettie that you just pass over with the jump to Jude and Ernest.
Speaking of Jude and Ernest there is a glaring error in Ernest’s dialogue as he addresses his escort. I had to reread it a couple of times and I am still not sure what Fialkov was trying to get Ernest to say when he gives the line, “You don’t know from armies.” Really not sure what that means even with context. Luckily this is the only mistake and there are some very good bright spots including a nifty Star Wars reference and Ernest’s one liners never fail to put a grin on your face.
Gabo’s artwork keeps adding new wrinkles to every installment. He ups the creep factor in this issue with his creation: a demonic creature with a dark skull-like face and cigar smoke billowing from his nostrils. The creature reeks of evil. However, the most bizarre and creepiest thing I have seen in this book is his two page spread of Jude’s powers activating. The way he has Jude flowing across the page and the use of an almost see through light is pretty to look at it. At first glance, you might even miss it; it is disguised well. What makes this spread really creepy is the subject matter in the background; it is shocking and horrifying. There is nothing comic about it. It almost makes me want to throw-up, something I have never experienced from a comic before.
Is It Good?
Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo produce another weird and strange issue with The Life After #7. It is definitely an improvement from the last issue, but still experiences some setbacks with fragmented stories splitting the attention of the reader and not allowing for emotional connections. There is an obvious grammatical error that is hard to interpret even with context (and may allude to one of Hemingway’s works or purposely making him speak in the way of his time period). However, Gabo continues to raise the bar of weirdness and adds some outright shock factor to his artwork.