Review - Euthanauts #1

"I was thinking about how weird it is that I don't like my friends and they don't really like me--"

Death is certain regardless of who you are although what happens afterwards is subject to interpretation. In Euthanauts #1 from IDW Publishing's Black Crown imprint, the main character gets a crash course in dealing with death. The issue is written by Tini Howard, illustrated by Nick Robles and lettered by Aditya Bidikar.

Death is like outer space-a seemingly unknowable, terrifying blackness that yields beautiful discoveries and truths-if only you've got the right kind of rocketship. Thalia Rosewood has had a lifelong obsession with death, keeping her from living her life to the fullest. Mercy Wolfe has a brain tumor the size of a billiard ball, and a need for a new recruit before her next journey begins. Inigo Hanover is a reluctant tether to the world beyond, seeking to continue a cycle that exploration would halt. Go toward the light. Then go beyond.

Upon reading the first issue, Howard's likely to invoke a sense of surrealism in the reader. Howard's approach is very even, following along with Thalia as she lives her seemingly tedious life; it's her approach to life that seems to inform her reaction to the concept of death. Howard doesn't so much explore the ways one can die, but he does embark on a narrative journey that seems to straddle the line between life and death. Howard realizes that history is rife with beliefs and theories about death and the afterlife so by using a character such as Thalia who is so fascinated by death as a conduit for exploring it is a great choice. The issue is very much one of three acts with the third act being somewhat bombastic in its scope and setting up the duration of the series.

Robles' artwork is impressively beautiful in both its approach and overall scope. There's a rough, unfinished quality to the artwork that's reflective of the sense many has upon realizing their mortality is nigh as Robles illustrates the characters with well-defined lines. The panels are arranged in exciting ways atop empty gutters for the most part. Robles explores the afterlife with an emphasis on an illustrative style rife with ethereal drawings that underscore the disconnect between physical and spiritual realms. The colors throughout the issue are largely darker in palette, furthering the notion that death is an unknown quantity that demands exploring.

A lot of Euthanauts #1 is predicated on death and its consequences--both on the living and the dead. Thalia is obsessed with death in a way that allows the story to flow naturally to a place where what happens after death seems to be the crux of the story. Howard's script is fast-moving and to the point, asking some pretty heady questions about the afterlife. Roble's illustrations are airy in a way that seems detached from reality in many respects--an appropriate art style considering the subject matter of the book. Euthanauts #1 raises some pretty heady questions about death and the afterlife in an interesting way.

Euthanauts #1 is available now.