Everyone has to deal with the eventuality of death. Living is not forever and everyone has lost somebody in their life. The impact of that loss can vary based on what type of relationship you had with that person. You may not remember what a person did for you or said to you but you will always remember how they made you feel.
As technology has progressed over the years it’s only a matter of time before things like death become outdated. Science fiction has explored this probability many times over to mixed results. Rarely has this prospect been viewed through how capitalism would play with such an issue. In Jon Lock’s Afterlife Inc. we find one such company whose business is all about the “Great Beyond.”
We meet Jack Fortune, a con artist and businessman, who dies but once he arrives in Empyrean, he discovers a bustling metropolis of the dead, where the leadership has vacated, which causes Jack to create Afterlife Inc, a corporation which runs all things dead.
In “Final Destination,” a pilot gets a quick introduction into the afterlife by Jon, one which doesn’t and does resemble life as he always wanted it. In “Origin Of Species,” Jon’s company creates a machine so powerful, that it does his job in half the time. In “Silver Screen,” an actor gets the role of a lifetime, one that blurs reality in ways unimagined. In “Death Of A Salesman,” one man atones for his sins, while Jack holds him to it. In “Wonderland,” a young girl gets lost in Empyrean, threatening to disturb their way of life. In “On High,” the reader gets a thorough tour of Empyrean, one that would boggle the mind. In “Elementary,” Sherlock Holmes tracks down a serial killer in Empyrean, which is quite an oxymoron in many ways, and leaves his security team in shambles. In the last story, “From Now On,” Jack brings about a melancholic resolution and a surprise reunion, one that changes the two characters time in Empyrean forever.
Overall, an interesting world and set of stories that are both whimsical and esoteric. The stories by Lock are graceful, funny, and affecting. The art by different artists makes this world more palpable and visceral. Altogether, a world readers will want to come back to time and time again.
Story: Jon Lock
Art: Del Borovic, Jerry Gaylord, Roy Huteson Stewart, Ash Jackson, Jack Tempest, Will Tempest, and Shawn DePasquale
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy