The Life After Volume 1 Paperback – March 17, 2015
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- Publisher : Oni Press (March 17, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 136 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1620102145
- ISBN-13 : 978-1620102145
- Reading age : 16 years and up
- Item Weight : 13.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.5 x 0.4 x 10.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,114,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Maybe Jude should have stayed on the bus. Life was simpler. Now he’s confused. Now he sees things. Horrible things. Maybe it’s the past. Maybe it’s the future. Maybe it’s another planet. Eventually Ernest Hemingway tells him that he’s in a purgatory for suicides. That’s not a spoiler because it’s on the back cover. Unless the back cover is a spoiler.
There is, in fact, a different purgatory for each sin. And since there are a lot of sins, there are a lot of purgatories. And a lot of sinners to fill them. Just imagine how crowded the purgatory is for the sin of self-abuse! Hands in the air. Everybody?
Jude doesn’t know where he is, but at least he gets to meet Hemingway. Wherever Jude is, when he touches people, he sees what happened to them. Which is never good.
What we learn in the first volume of The Life After is that the afterlife isn’t what we’ve been promised. No harps, no seven virgins, no whatever your particular religion is pushing. It’s actually a pretty crummy place. But by the end, Jude is on a mission to change it.
I like the dark humor, the depiction of the guys who run purgatory as fat office workers in bad suits who need a shave. I like the revelation (no pun intended) about Jude’s actual identity. I like the depiction of God as an uglier version of Jabba the Hutt, although I’m pretty sacrilegious, and people who take their religion seriously might be offended.
The art is interesting. Some of it reminds me of underground comics from the 60s, the sort of thing drawn by artists who were trying to recall their last peyote trip.
Our hero Jude finds himself in a purgatory/limbo halfway place, (we don't seem overly concerned with a strict theological distinction among the various levels and parts of the afterlife), and he finds that its denizens are unaware of who they are or where they are until he wakes them up. His touch both wakes people up and injures or destroys a variety of bad guys, which is, you know, handy.
Bottom line, Jude decides this halway place is unfair and cruel, and decides to mount a revolution of sorts. Now, with that basic thread of a plot we can have all sorts of sub-plots, and even if some of those threads go nowhere or are confusing, the main line holds everything together well enough that the story never becomes densely incomprehensible.
The best part is that Jude picks up an unusual crew of accomplices. Number one, of course, is a guy who was already awake when Jude first showed up - Ernest Hemingway. I know that shouldn't work, but it does. Ernest is funny, deadpan, tough, wise, and up for adventure and a fight, and is a really fine Yoda/sidekick character. Then we meet up with a tough cookie woman who Jude woke up by accident. She is a game addition. Toward the end we get hints of more allies to come. So this ends up being an ensemble sort of affair.
The halfway world is overseen by grey bureaucrats who monitor and interfere with the action, and they are played as a cross between Matrix agents and the Three Stooges, which adds to the snarky humor that underlies some of the action and plotting. As per usual, God is a bit distracted and doesn't like to get directly involved in the dirty work.
The drawing is sharp and nicely colored. Some of the big scenes are especially well drawn, and you always recognize the characters and know what's going on, which is always for the best in a book like this.
So, it's well paced, a little light, imaginative, (if a bit predictable), and overall engaging. I enjoyed reading it, which is, I guess, the main test. This Volume 1 collects the first five issues of the comic. There are two more collection Volumes, so expect a cliffhanger ending.
(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Jude seems to live the same day over and over. Not enough sleep, commute to work, mindless job, bus trip home where a woman drops a handkerchief by him, then home to get not enough sleep and start the whole thing all over. That is, until he picks up the handkerchief and tries to return it to the woman. Then everything breaks loose and he realizes where he is. He also gains an unlikely partner in writer Ernest Hemingway. Jude may be the key to solving the strange world he finds himself in.
It's an odd story filled, at times, with grotesque creatures. There is the structure of an interesting story here, but there is also the echo of a story from classic literature. Unfortunatley, this version of the afterlife doesn't seem to offer anywhere that anyone would like to find themselves, and the characters come across as a bit one dimensional. Even Ernest Hemingway seems to be not that interesting. The characters serve the journey and seem to be there to reveal the next ghoulish creature. The art felt a bit uneven. At times, it was pretty good, then it would seem oddly proportioned and take me out of the story.
I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Oni Press, Diamond Book Distributors, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
Top reviews from other countries
The Life After von Joshua Hale Fialkov...
Warum sieht Gott aus wie eine schrumpelige Niere? Und warum hat Maria trotzdem mit ihm rumgemacht?
Wie ist das Fegefeuer für Selbstmörder? Und warum sind sich nur Jude und Ernest Hemingway dessen bewusst?
Was passiert mit den Seelen, die nicht erlöst werden können, weil sie vor den aktuellen Glaubensrichtungen geboren wurden?
Warum ähneln die Seraphim eher Monstern aus Resident Evil?
Und wird es Jude gelingen die Bürokratie von Himmel und Hölle zu stürzen?
Die teils bösen, schwarzhumorigen, aber auch spannenden Antworten gibt es in einem außergewöhnlichen Comic, wie er nur von einem Atheisten stammen kann.