Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire find their balance in AD After Death
Bycddtorsn— — Posted in
What happens when you take two of the best comic creators in the industry, and team them up at Image with absolutely no limits? You get one of the best new books of the year. Written by Scott Snyder (Batman fame), and drawn by Jeff Lemire(Sweet Tooth), this team is really interesting and frankly, somewhat of a surprise.While Snyder and Lemire are frequent collaborators, such as their collective Rotworld storyline for Animal Man and Swamp Thing, their roles on AD: After Death take their relationship in a new direction. Snyder is the writer, and Lemire is credited solely as the artist, despite being a well-established writer in his own right. Up until this point, Lemire has only drawn comics that he had also written. So AD is a huuuuge deal.via Image ComicsUnfortunately, this creative dichotomy seems to seep into the book itself, as most of this first issue focuses on Snyder’s writing, only featuring Lemire’s art in short bursts. It makes the comic feel less like a graphic novel, and more like a novella with illustrations. Only about half of the first issue even has sequential art. A lot of this is chalked up to Snyder’s use of prose as a means of internal narration for the lead, describing flashbacks. Whenever the series uses Lemire’s art, it has to cut to the present, so events are in “real time.” This is an interesting narrative device, defining the visual style for past and present.While Snyder’s writing seems to dominate the book, it isn’t a surprise that it is such a strong component, given his track record on…well, basically everything he’s ever touched. His heavy narration is something that has been consistent throughout his career, even his Batman run. The long, descriptive memories, appear on the page as though they are being typed on a typewriter. This is paired with Lemire’s simplistic, painted, loose style. When the book cuts into current events, Lemire’s artwork tightens up. His art doesn’t really get as much opportunity to shine the way it did in his creator owned work, but when it does, his watercolors and line work is gorgeous.via Image ComicsThe story is… well, the reader doesn’t know much, it spends so much time cutting back and forth from the main character’s past and present, that any real “plot” gets lost in the shuffle. We mainly get a few scenes that take us through different settings, introducing us to a few characters while only giving the reader the smallest idea of what is going on. Snyder still manages to frame everything in a way that gets you asking questions and wondering. However, as this is a three part series, there will surely be plenty more revealed in the next two books.For as little information as we are given in this first issue, Snyder and Lemire’s world building is incredible. It feels huge, slightly skewed, and yet somehow lived-in. The characters are quiet and layered. Lemire’s expressive faces allow for a lot of emotional nuances. The lead character gets room to shine, and that has a lot to do with the way that his characterization is broken up. There is the huge, written, internal monolog that seems almost excessive in comparison to the short, almost awkward, expressive moments.via Image ComicsRegardless of the amount of “comic book” in this comic, Snyder and Lemire’s AD: After Death #1 is a solid start for a series that is surely going to be one of Image best new series. Fans of either Snyder or Lemire need to be reading this book. You can already tell that by the time it wraps up, it will be some of the best work that either of them put out.AD : After Death #1 is the first installment of a three issue series by writer Scott Snyder and artist Jeff Lemire, published by Image Comics. The first issue will be available online or in-stores on November 23rd, 2016.