Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo’s journey into Purgatory continues to get weirder by the page, even venturing into the beginning of time. It is strange, that’s for sure, but is it good?
The Life After #3 (Image Comics)
Fialkov and Gabo begin by reintroducing the traditional Biblical story of Jesus Christ. Fialkov adds some light humor when God interacts with Mary telling her straight-up to avoid conversation about her betrothed because after all God does not want to be the other man. Unfortunately his plan fails. Jesus is crucified and the world continues to wage war.
In order to rectify the situation, God had another son but he has gone rogue. God puts a bureaucrat in charge who self identifies as “much much worse” than Angels and Devils. Gabo’s art reinforces the potential evil hiding inside the bureaucrat. He has his hair parted perfectly with just the right length of sideburns. His suit is impeccable, fully equipped with a pocket square. However, his eyes are slanted inwards towards his nose and his grin has a slight curve upward, giving off the sinister vibe.
Gabo not only is able to effectively draw and capture the sinister nature of the bureaucrat, but he also is able to capture the magnificence of a city, the sheer power of Jude’s ability, and a multitude of facial expressions on Hemingway. The art creates the weird and strange nature of the comic and keeps giving the reader a steady dose throughout the book.
The story takes some odd turns once it transitions to Jude and Hemingway. The two get in a heated debate over the viability of taking down the world in which they inhabit. It abruptly ends when Hemingway just walks off after making his point very clear. For some reason Jude follows Hemingway to the edge of a cliff, where they are introduced to two whole new worlds. Fialkov and Gabo struggle to create a decent flow of transitioning from sequence to sequence. It is choppy and very piecemeal.
The introduction of the two new worlds also presents the reader with a whole new type of threat confronting Jude and Hemingway: the Seraphim, six-winged angels whose heads turn into evil bug-like creatures that need to be shot by Starship Troopers. Fialkov adds in some nifty dialogue from Hemingway comparing battling the Seraphim to his time in Spain, but “only with less body odor.” Fialkov’s dialogue with Hemingway is funny throughout the entire book from the quip about Spain to failing to remember the last time he took a good s--t.
The story really heats up in the final pages when Jude’s powers seem to be growing at an exponential rate and driving the pencil-pushers system to the edge of collapse. This threat creates a wonderful cliffhanger that will have the reader coming back to find out about “The Man Downstairs.”
Is It Good?
The Life After #3 is rather choppy to follow and the story does not flow as well as the previous two books. Gabo’s art continues to keep the vibe of weirdness on almost every page and Fialkov’s dialogue with Hemingway is fun to read.