Written by Mark Henely
As a comic book reader, I’ll often hear non-readers say that they want to read comics, but they don’t know where to start. They want to experience Iron Man comics, but they don’t want to have to start with his first appearance (1963‘s Tales of Suspense #39). So, I usually tell people to start anywhere. Just pick up a comic and figure it out. You just have to jump in and see if it hooks you.
This week, I jumped in with something I had never experienced before; I read Exodus: The Life After #2. Written by Joshua Hale Fialkov (I, Vampire, Ulitmate Comics: The Ultimates) and Art by Gabo (All-Star Western), “Exodus: The Life After” is a sequel to their previous 10 issue series “The Life After”. Readers looking to jump onto a new series should know that this comic reads more like an issue 12 than it does an issue 2. This is issue is a very difficult jumping on point. It is a lot like only watching from minute 16 to minute 30 of a movie and the movie you are watching is the sequel to a movie you also didn’t see.
So, the question is: what is “Exodus: The Life After”? The story itself follows Essie, a little girl, and Ernest Hemmingway as they attempt to save, Jude, the the main character from the first story. Issue one of “Exodus” shows a very compelling image of Purgatory. They characterize the middle existence between Heaven and Hell as a state of being where people go through the motions of life, but never move too far forward or never fall too far behind. It’s a world where you never get that big promotion, but you also never get fired.
Fans of “The Life After” will probably enjoy “Exodus”. This is a comic that is clearly part of a fully developed world and Fialkov is really trying to delve even deeper into the meanings and metaphors based around his vision of the afterlife. The art is really fun and expressive. Characters are allowed to look ugly or tired, but they never become grotesque.
As for a star rating, that’s a little bit difficult. As someone who has not read the first series, I didn’t get as much out of this issue as longtime readers probably did. This issue is fun and even sweet at times, but I can’t get over the feeling that I’m missing half of the story. If you are a new reader, it would probably be best to go and get the trade paperbacks of “The Life After” before you tackle this. This comic is very good, but it doesn’t quite stand as a stand alone piece, so I will have to rate it lower than I would if I had read “The Life After” before reading this.
Exodus: Life After #2 6 out of 10 Stars
***Mark Henely is a stand up comedian, podcaster, and comic book fan. He went to Rutgers University where he officially studied English Literature and unofficially studied Marvel and DC Comics. Now he has a podcast where he reviews the first appearances of Comic Book characters. It is called “Introducing… The First Appearance Podcast” and you can check it out on iTunes and Stitcher. HYPERLINK “https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/introducing…the-first-appearance/id993523477” https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/introducing…the-first-appearance/id993523477 You can also follow Mark on Twitter @MarkHenely***