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AD After Death
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Superhero mavens Snyder (Batman) and Lemire (the Essex Trilogy, Sweet Tooth) team for a challenging and thought-provoking speculative work set 825 years after a cure for death is found. The mix of graphic novel and illustrated text captures protagonist Jonah as he ponders the world that deathlessness has wrought, peppered with extended flashbacks to the days before the cure. Snyder's script and concepts are sharp and fertile, and recall his pre-comics work as a prose novelist. The art elevates this from an exegesis on mortality to a gripping, elegiac illustrated adventure that bedazzles and fascinates. Lemire has a crackerjack sense of storytelling pace and tempo to back up his art chops, and he puts an unearthly spin on fantastic settings and creatures but never forgets that this is a very human story. This puzzle-box story rewards careful (and repeat) reading. (July)-PW


PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED) -- Superhero mavens Snyder (Batman) and Lemire (the Essex Trilogy, Sweet Tooth) team for a challenging and thought-provoking speculative work set 825 years after a cure for death is found. The mix of graphic novel and illustrated text captures protagonist Jonah as he ponders the world that deathlessness has wrought, peppered with extended flashbacks to the days before the cure. Snyder's script and concepts are sharp and fertile, and recall his pre-comics work as a prose novelist. The art elevates this from an exegesis on mortality to a gripping, elegiac illustrated adventure that bedazzles and fascinates. Lemire has a crackerjack sense of storytelling pace and tempo to back up his art chops, and he puts an unearthly spin on fantastic settings and creatures but never forgets that this is a very human story. This puzzle-box story rewards careful (and repeat) reading. (July)


BOOKLIST (STARRED) -- Image Comics' promising experiment in format is this oversize book matching the content density, gravitas, and production value of a graphic novel with the slimmer page count and monthly serialized storytelling of a standard comic. Snyder, the much-lauded Batman scribe, counting on the relatively short wait for the next episode, suggests just enough of what's going on to keep you hooked to the story of Jonah Cooke. Though hundreds of years old, Cooke is haunted by a psychological trauma early in his life that he's carried into a rural future that is somehow postapocalyptic, despite the fact that the few people left appear to be immortal. In both the comics portion (the story's present) and the passages of illustrated text (flashbacks to Cooke's past), the sense of edgy half-understanding and uncertainty is distilled with perfect, smudged beauty by Lemire's art. His work here exemplifies his highly personal style, an achingly melancholy expanse of lushly natural settings with a quiet and pervasive uneasiness roiling beneath. He populates it with fragile, angular characters whose eyes are etched with all the anxiety that this world, or any imagined one, could possibly offer. The success of such an experiment is, ultimately, in the quality of the story, and Snyder and Lemire make this a resounding one.

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