A post-apocalyptic story that is takes a closer look at the smaller moments.
Titan Comics is putting out a new extra-sized comic series called The Beautiful Death which focuses on a theme we’ve seen ten times over, but in a new way. That theme is a post-apocalyptic world where survivors attempt to stay alive. The 64-page comic is out this week and beautifully rendered, but is it good?
So what’s it about?
Why does this matter?
This first issue reminded me of Robert Kirman’s decree to carry on The Walking Dead forever because horror movies have the failing of always ending. What if we could follow characters for longer periods of time after the credits usually rolled? This issue has that vibe as it shows the quieter and more mundane moments of those who are scrounging the earth for the last bits of food so as to not starve and as a result feels new and different in its approach.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This would suck.
This issue opens with a man sitting alone crying. He sports a mohawk and looks like an average 20 something who is probably cool in his inner circle. Problem is he has no inner circle. The world is empty now that all of humanity is dead. Writer and artist Mathieu Bablet makes us believe this world is empty as we are drawn into the protagonist’s world through captions. He reflects on a moment when he was younger and this reflection is relatable and endearing. After 15 or so pages of getting closer to this character, everything is upended and you don’t know where it could go from here.
I won’t spoil it, but there’s a massive twist of sorts at this point which then follows a few other survivors who are convinced everyone is dead. As Baglet progresses the plot we get hints at where all of humanity went, or in other words how they died. But really that’s not the point. It’s through their day to day actions that we get a sense of who they are and what has become of life.
The art in this book is incredible, with great detail spent on backgrounds and clothing. It has its own sort of style that’s not hyper-realistic, but so filled with detail it is a version of realistic that’s believable. The colors are well rendered with red hues and burnt oranges to signify different days and times. The style is one that you could see hold up an entire animated movie if given the chance; angular and expressive, but all its own.
The main cover ain’t bad either. Brandon Graham draws it and his attention to detail–especially with cityscapes–suits the type of story within.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This is a slow boil sort of story so don’t expect fight scenes with aliens and major twists or revelations. It’s brooding and building towards showing what it is to be human when left alone with no law and order. The characters are reasonable, but also attempting to survive, so it feels quite close to how things might go if you were in their situation. That said, it probably won’t be for everyone due to its slower pace.
Is It Good?
I was pleasantly surprised by this first issue and it reminded me I need to take more chances with brand new series I know nothing about. The comic pulled me in right from the start and felt genuine in its depiction of humanity post-apocalypse. Walking Dead fans should try this out, at least to confirm why they liked the comic series when it began.