Review: Euthanauts #1

STL086173.jpegThe day my great-grandmother died was the closest I have felt to an out of body experience. It had been two weeks coming with Louise Risko stubbornly holding onto staying on this plane of existence as she did with most things in life, but I still couldn’t prepare for the sudden chestpunch of knowing she was fully gone. My dorm suddenly felt like a box I couldn’t escape from. I didn’t know who to call or who would even want the full brunt of this sudden wave of grief. When I went to bed that night, it felt like my soul was trying to escape my body. As if it wanted to chase after her.

I hadn’t really felt that feeling again since that day. Not even when my grandfather died two months later. Tinges of it came back listening to ‘Lazarus’ by David Bowie on repeat shortly after he passed and I certainly felt the same anxious buildup the day Prince died and it ended up compounded with Finn Balor losing the NXT championship that I just sort of ended up screaming in my kitchen. Maybe it was less of a “hadn’t” situation, but more that I didn’t want to. Not all the way.

But Euthanauts #1… It’s the only comic that has made me want to revisit that feeling.

Euthanauts #1 is the latest Black Crown book from writer Tini Howard following her hilarious and poignant shoot ‘em up mini-series Assassinistas with Gilbert Hernandez. I wasn’t certain if I should review this book because I do consider Tini a friend and we certainly did talk a lot about this book at MomoCon this year while I helped her with her table. But I couldn’t not know what it was about after spending a weekend hyping it up to people, parroting her spiel about it and hoping that it stuck in people’s minds. Finally reading it though, I think I was underselling it.

The issue follows funeral director Talia Rosewood on possibly the strangest day of her life when she encounters Dr. Mercy Wolfe, a “dead woman walking” out to dinner on her last day alive. Talia admits that death is all she can ever think about and “…in some way, I felt like this woman was calling me out for that.”

Talia would end up right about that, but probably not in the way that she thought.

Most of this issue is getting to know Talia as a protagonist as she gets immediately thrown into the deep end of her adventure and it’s a credit to Tini that I feel like Talia is someone I’ve known for years. Not in the sense that I can see the shreds of Tini in her, but in the sense that she’s someone in my friend’s group I’ve known for years, but haven’t really had a chance to hang out with. Somehow though, we inevitably end up having super deep conversations at parties probably because of that disconnect. And that’s probably the same reason Mercy picks her to be her tether as well.

Nick Robles is on art for this series and I have to say, while I wasn’t familiar with his work before this series, he makes a hell of a first impression. The way Talia exists so casually and so fashionably as a curvy protagonist is amazing in of itself in a way that it shouldn’t be in comics, but as soon as that oxygen canister makes contact with Talia’s head and she starts questioning what was real and what wasn’t, Robles’ art truly comes alive as we get our first look into Death Space. The digital review copies we receive are often just fine for reading and reviewing, but I desperately wanted to rip this one from my screen and somehow dive into it. To experience how that world glows and breathes.

After being away from comics for a while, Euthanauts #1 is one of the most engaging first issues I have read in a while. While the story does throw you into the deep end right away, it gives you the tools you need to begin to breathe and understand what it’s going for. Much like Talia, it stays rooted while beginning to look deeper into itself. While Tini Howard and Nick Robles’ story is ultimately rooted in something that is inevitable and terrifying, the fact it can make me look back at one of the worst days of my life and wonder just what exactly happened when I tried to sleep that night is a book that is definitely worth re-reading.

Story: Tini Howard Art: Nick Robles
Story: 9.5 Art: 10.0 Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review