A.D. After Death Book 1
Writer: Scott Snyder
Illustration: Jeff Lemire
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed By: Gregory Brothers
When people hear the words comics, they immediately think of people in colorful outfits fighting crimes and villains to protect innocent people. They look at the medium as not a serious work of art that can be discussed and present larger social issues. Obviously, those people are wrong as they sell sort the medium as a whole, as anyone who would pick up A.D. After Death Book 1 will see. Snyder and Lemire while known for their traditional superhero runs have also put out arguably some of the best non-traditional works out there for readers.
A.D. After Death Book 1 starts in 1982, as our narrator Jonah Cooke is on a family trip with his family. The family has been down on their luck and his father decided on a whim that a trip to Florida was a much-needed break from their reality. The trip does not go as planned and it seems that the family bad luck has continued until a brief moment of joy fills their life, only to have the family problems come crashing back down. After the flashback, we move forward in Jonahs story as he is working on what appears to be a cattle farm on his last day before he moves on to a new job. Jonah’s life is not as simple as it seems however. As he begins his trip from the job at the cattle farm to his new assignment, we discover that time lasts much slower than it use to and people tend to live longer than they did before. Through Jonahs own confessions we also find out that he has an addiction to stealing things, one that he seems to think has had long lasting effects on those around him.
One of the things that we learn about Jonah early on in the book is that he liked to keep a record of things so that he can remember them later on. It seems that Snyder and Lemire decided to use that fact in some of the designs in A.D. After Death Book 1. The flashbacks are filled with large blocks of text and often just one panel with Lemire’s illustration appearing somewhere on the page. It gives the feel of a journal where someone is keeping their memories so that they can go back and read them again. Lending to this idea is the fact that the present day pagers are done closer to the traditional panels with conversations between people filled with speech bubbles and action. The water coloring that Lemire uses really brings out the emotions of these characters throughout and reminds you this is much more than your typical comic book. Sometimes when you have a story that jumps between the past and the present it can become confusing as to where and when exactly you are in the story. Here Snyder’s writing allows the reader to flow between the two times without that confusion and clumsiness. If I did have to say one negative about the book it would be that I would have liked to see it released as the three parts in one collection as it was originally announced, but that small preference should not keep you from grabbing this book.
In all honesty, not enough good things can be said about A.D. After Death #1. The team up of Snyder and Lemire has left an emotional, beautiful, thought-provoking book. As a reader, it makes you wonder about what your first memory truly was and how it has had a subconscious effect on your life. Snyder has become known for some of his character driven stories and he does not disappoint here. Lemire’s art fits the mood of the scenes perfectly, as the watercolors add depth and emotion, while fitting seamlessly with the traditional story boards of the present day conversation.