(2015, Oni Press)
It feels like some books just shouldn't be ongoing series, just like some movies shouldn't be TV shows. That's not to say a title can't have a long life, but sometimes the stories, or characters, or ideas are diluted by the necessities of an ongoing series.
I was into the weird Matrix-esque digital Heaven/Hell/Purgatory that Fialkov and Gabo presented in the first 5 issues of The Life After. It was overseen by a weird bureaucratic environment (reminiscent of the control room in Cabin in the Woods) that was teased out nicely. As well how it related to the central character's journey wasn't well defined. The main character was a Neo-like chosen one who began to discover he could manipulate the system in weird ways, but didn't know what it meant nor how to use it effectively. He also had Ernest Hemingway as a companion in his journey through the afterlife. It was weird, but not in a cutesy or quirky way. It's a pretty serious book with some heavy themes, but not without its comic relief (mostly in the form of Hemingway).
Issues 6-10 act essentially as a volume 2, but expand the focus beyond the main cast, to see more of the inner workings of the afterlife office, and toy with roughly defining the rules of the afterlife so that characters can break them.
Were the first five issues a miniseries and the second a follow-up miniseries, I'm almost certain the book would have a tighter focus on the main characters, and their navigation of the realm. But as a continuing story it loses that focus and feels a liitle too meandering and explanatory. I still liked it, don't get me wrong, but this second act didn't quite deliver as effecting a story as the first.
The ending parallels sharply with the beginning, only with ten issues of context behind it. It's a tactful stroke on Fialkov's part and illustrated deftly by Gabo. Another act came in November (Exodus)... which is good because it leaves a few things hanging... more than a few actually. I hope it doesn't get too explanation heavy of the after-world. I like the vagaries. I'll have to track it/them down. I kinda overlooked them.
|Things get almost unbearably weird when the trippy bunny god shows up|