Review: AD: After Death Book One

adbook01_coverartAD: After Death Book One has been described as part comic and part prose. When I first heard that, I wasn’t sure exactly what the creators meant, but now it makes complete sense. This book may not be for everyone, as it can be very wordy, but it really shines the more writer Scott Snyder got to write. Even if you do not like wordy comics, I would still give this a chance, because it is something very special, and it doesn’t feel like a comic.

The story is narrated by Jonah Cooke, as he looks back at his own memories. I could relate to a lot of Jonah’s childhood, and to the message of family that is this books heart. I mean that when I say it, this book has heart. There is a longer part, I believe in the middle where Snyder’s words spoke to me in a heavy way. It was describing someone who worries about everything, and how no matter how good something can go, you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now I have always had some form of anxiety, which is most of the time manageable, but when I read this brilliant part, I could feel my heart racing. That is a very powerful thing, and that is what a good writer can do.

It wouldn’t be fair if the only thing I raved over was the writing, which certainly deserves it, but so does the art. Jeff Lemire, who is another favorite talent of mine, gives us some incredible work. You can tell that these two powerhouses worked with such care creating this story. From seeing the little green balloon our young Jonah and his family are following illustrated like something out of a beautiful watercolor version of children’s book. To the full beautiful painting of a field and windmills with Jonah’s truck driving past. Some of the pages are something I would hang on my wall as actual art, and not just prints or pages. It is beautiful, and his style is so unique and much different from what we see in most comics. We have seen more books do the watercolor route (like Dept. H), and it is truly refreshing. It is nice to have different forms of art in the medium of comics, especially when so many other books are doing the same thing. Nothing about this book feels familiar, and the beautiful work by Lemire is a big reason why.

This extra large book runs around seventy pages, and the story will be completed in three issues. We don’t get everything that is going on yet, and that’s okay, because we still have two more large books coming to tell us. But we do get a lot of setup, and a lot of Jonah’s past. It is also mentioned multiple times that this is hundreds of years after he was a child, and that death has been cured. Jonah is not some frail old man, in fact he looks quite young still, so it is apparent that perhaps aging in general has stopped, but I don’t want to get ahead of the story here, because I am sure most of these questions will be answered in time. How was death cured? Is that a good thing? I cannot wait to find out.

I feel like this book is personal, and I love that. Sometimes it is hard to read something so real, but you’re better for it. It can be therapeutic. Like Jonah, I was a young child in the eighties, and I lost my father at seven years old. Now our stories may be different, but there were pieces that connected. The car rides, family vacations where things went wrong, the silly games, and mostly just about the innocence of being a child and the moment where something horrible happens, and it changing you forever. This book captured that part of my youth perfectly, and it’s like it was speaking to me and me alone. Even if that is just for a moment, that is something magical, and I hope that when someone else reads this, they feel that too.

I would absolutely recommend AD: After Death Book One to anyone looking for something a little deeper, a little longer, and a little different. Snyder and Lemire have created a tale that feels raw, real, and beautiful. As surreal as something like curing death may seem, this book tells a very believable story. I connected to Jonah as a boy, and am very interested to learn more about who he is as a man.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jeff Lemire
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review