Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Illustrated & Colored by Gabo
Lettered by Crank!
Cover by Nick Pitarra
Published by Oni Press
Release Date: 8/20/2014
First panel, gun rack. Second panel, we see the arm of a male opening the gun rack. Third panel, now visible is this unknown figure holding a shotgun. Fourth panel, a gray-haired male with a bald spot walks off with the shotgun. Fifth panel, Fuck it.
This is how THE LIFE AFTER #2 begins, with Ernest Hemingway describing to our yet to be named protagonist how he took his own life. The new ongoing series from Oni Press and writer Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Bunker, The Devilers) and artist Gabriel “Gabo” Bautista (Albert the Alien) comes out this week, after a dark but impressive debut issue last month.
After reading the first two issues now, the series can so far best be described as story about a limbo like afterlife world for suicide victims, with a matrix like twist. Also more evident in this issue is that our main character has some sort of special ability to see glimpses into the past lives of these lost souls, making it somewhat clearer that they endured suffering of some form; some were bullied, while others abused drugs. Not everything is quite to clear yet, but there is a behind the scenes presence that seems to be monitoring and controlling the activity in what they refer to as Level 147A23. Add to this some disturbing and bizarre images of these monstrous alien like beings and you have yourself an unconventional, dark, and creative twist about the serious matter that is suicide. Oh, and near the end, we finally find out our main characters name.
I really struggled with the way I should approach this review. In light of recent events, and with the issues of mental health, depression, and suicide in the spotlight right now, I did not want any of my words or thoughts to be misconstrued, because I am enjoying this series. In my review of issue one, I mentioned the seriousness of mental illness and how some can struggle to deal with the repetition and despondency of everyday life. Fialkov is not downplaying this issue at all. Yes the story is dark, dismal, and concerning, but I really like where this is going and trust his story-telling abilities. Gabo’s artwork once again impresses, especially the way he illustrates these otherworldly like beings, which brings an even more menacing feel to the overall narrative. An absolute must read and very highly recommended, make sure you pull this from your comic book stand this week.
REVIEW: THE LIFE AFTER #2
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)
Strong and creative story-telling with impressive illustrations.
Some readers may find the dark and serious subject matter to be a bit controversial right now.