A.D After Death #1 (of 3) (Image Comics)
There’s always a lot of hype surrounding a new series from Scott Snyder or Jeff Lemire individually, so you can imagine the kind of hype surrounding A.D. After Death. The first collaboration between two of comics’ biggest creators, A.D. tells the story of a world where death has been “cured”. A.D. After Death is an exploration of the relationship between humans and death, and it’s presented in a way that is very different from what I was expecting. No one has died in decades, and humanity lives in “cycles”. Relationships and jobs can last far longer than anyone ever imagined, but there’s a dark mystery surrounding the world.
The mystery behind the cure for death isn’t explored at all in this opening issue, but Scott Snyder’s script is still extremely compelling. Focusing on a man named Jonah, Snyder uses a variety of techniques to tell his story, including prose pieces, which A.D. After Death contains a surprising amount of. While I typically balk at seeing a block of text in my comic books, I have to say, these sequences actually help enhance the story. They alllow the reader to understand Jonah far better than using panels, and there are some truly beautiful passages throughout (including one about summer homes that struck a chord with me, a guy who likes to drive around and look at beach houses). In a lot of ways, this issue reminded me of Snyder’s collection of short stories, Voodoo Heart, which is a must-read if you like his comics work.
Since Snyder is writing the series, it falls on Jeff Lemire to handle the art. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of Lemire’s artwork, but when it works, like in Sweet Tooth, it works really well. Thankfully I can tell you here that Lemire’s art in A.D. works incredibly. His simple character designs and stark, almost empty backgrounds add a sense of melancholy to the book that compliments the themes of Snyder’s script perfectly.
A.D. After Death is not your ordinary comic, and that’s not taking into account the fact that it’s oversized. It’s a weird mix of prose and panels that works way better than it should, which isn’t that surprising when you look at the pedigree of the creators involved. What Snyder and Lemire have with A.D. After Death is something truly unique, and if they can keep up this level of quality, we could have a new modern classic on our hands.