THE LIFE AFTER opens with a glimpse of an existence so depressing it's palpable; Fialkov and Gabo launch us immediately into a world that perpetually pulls the rug out from our listless protagonist's feet. Things get more exciting, of course, developing into an issue that grows curiouser and curiouser with each turn.
Gabo's illustrations breathe life -- er, afterlife -- into Fialkov's bitersweet and intriguing narrative. There's a 50-panel spread that serves as a perfect introduction to the story world, and then Gabo shows just how varied and ecclectic that world is with sparkly dream sequences, glowing ghosts, and scenes that juxtapose elephants and rockets and punks and fancy ladies.
THE LIFE AFTER is rich with possibilities, exposing glitches in the system as immediately as it's established and providing hints at all sorts of deep and tragic backstories. I can't wait to learn more about our protagonist and what makes him special -- and what he's going to do with his newfound consciousness and fascinating new friend.
The book's concept is fascinating, and this first issue is well-done -- and I feel odd including this in the "Bad" section, since it isn't inherently so -- but some of the content might be difficult for some readers. I respect the creators for laying some heavy stuff out there in Issue #1, but I'll admit to being caught a bit off-guard (to be fair, the solicits do mention infinite sadness, and it is a book about the afterlife).
Fialkov and Gabo introduce us to a brave new world in THE LIFE AFTER, taking on the bleakness and monotony of the afterlife, and punctuating it with tragedy and curiosity. The sadness and repetition of purgatory take on a new dimension as we see how fully-controlled the situation is -- and how interesting it's going to be when our protagonist and his famous literary companion exploit the glitches.