Review: AD: After Death Book Two
The second chapter of the half comic and half prose book by Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire gives us some answers on what this cure to death is, and how it came about. We continue to follow both the past and present day Jonah, as we see both death and immortality, and what they both mean through his eyes. Throughout the book, readers are constantly reminded of loss, and I find that very interesting, and clever. This is a book about living forever, yet are constantly shown how these characters have experienced loss, and how it shaped them. With Jonah, it is his mother. For a book that I thought was showing that living forever was a good thing, AD: After Death Book Two has us questioning that premise by the end.
We see Jonah in the present hoping to hear voices, any sign of life, from below. The first pages we see from books one and two have Jonah walking through vines that were seemingly trying to kill him, with little explanation. Is this the world below? What is the world below? It seems that this is the world we know, and what everyone left behind when they “cured death”. Though we do meet a new character, Errant, and get an explanation and an offer from him to Jonah on curing death, we still do not have all of the answers on what that means. We get more mystery in that you can choose to forget what you want and remember what you want, and that becomes apparent that has happened in Jonah’s relationship with Jessica, as she has no memory of her time with him. Speaking of mystery, what symbolism does Darwyn the cow represent? Even if the cow ends up a red herring, it’s still a pretty awesome cow.
I want to read more Snyder in the prose format or even a novel. I am not certain any comic book writer could write in this format and have it be as interesting. His metaphors alone are brilliant, and I constantly had images in my head with his brilliant visualization, which is interesting, because this is also a comic, but on the page with little or no art, I still felt like I needed no visual aids to follow his writing. As I said in the first book, Snyder gets anxiety. I am not sure if he suffers from it himself, but I would think that he does or did at one point in his life, because wow does he speak to me and my war with it. Sure, I like most people keep it under control, but I totally understood what Jonah was feeling at moments, and how he has to constantly fight a negative view of the world, and of people. He seems to need positive people around him, like Bud and the other astronauts to remind him what it is to live. I may be looking into things too much, but what I see in Jonah, is a very sad man who may never find happiness.
The beautiful watercolor art by Lemire in this book is as awesome as the first. I love his style and am glad we are getting more of it. He is as great of an artist as he is a writer, and is one of the best in the business. The colors bleed into each other in such a beautiful and raw way. There are white blank spots acting as highlights in every page that draw your eyes to certain objects. You are getting a comic book with paintings, and it is an awesome experience. As I said before in the review of the first book, you could frame most of Lemire’s work throughout this series as art that can go on your wall, and it would fit right into any other artwork. What is interesting is though Lemire is doing much more art on the comic parts of this book, his subtle minimalist work in the prose sections are sometimes more breathtaking. The orchestra part with the words written along the notes they musicians are playing is awesome.
I hope we get all or most of the answers that we have not received in the final book, as that is the last one in the series. This series is something special, and the second book continues that trend. I am very confident that the third book will give us a great payoff, and I am curious to see what kind of ending we get. Will it be happy? Will it be sad? I suppose it could be both, depending on perspective. The story so far has us seeing this world through the eyes of one man, Jonah, but there is a much bigger picture here. This is humanity as we know it, but what is humanity now? As one character says in the book, there is no more children, and while people live forever, they can only hold so many memories. It seems to be a constant rebirth for everyone, and while that may sound tempting, it obviously can hold consequences. What will Jonah do? Is it the right thing? I do not know that answer, but I know I cannot wait to find out.
Story: Scott Snyder Art: Jeff Lemire
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review