Comic Book Review: Jeff Lemire Double Shot
So today we’re going to look at a couple of his most recent offerings: National Comics: Eternity and The Underwater Welder.
First cab off the rank is National Comics: Eternity from DC Comics.
National Comics is a set in DC’S New 52 universe and will contain stand-alone one shots that feature unique takes on classic characters. In this case, Lemire looks at Kid Eternity.
National Comics: Eternity tells the tale of a young man named Christopher Freeman. Now, Christopher isn’t your average guy; about a year ago he was killed. Thanks to some multi-dimensional enigma, Christopher finds himself alive again, with an unsettling ability: when a person dies, Christopher can travel into the afterlife and bring back their ghost. He uses this power to try to solve the murders that present themselves to him. But this time he may have unwittingly brought something more sinister back as well.
Here, as in all his New 52 work, and unlike a lot o the other writers at DC, Lemire has made the most of the reboot. Lemire has seen the opportunity for new and original storytelling presented to him, and dared to not only think outside the box, but tear the box up and throw the pieces to the wind. This is what makes him and the comics he writes stand out.
Two parts Cold Case, two parts Body of Proof, and one part Dresden Files, National Comics: Eternity is a good done-in-one comic with a cliff-hanger ending (not really a contradiction, but it’s hard to really go into it without major spoilage) and definitely worth the price tag.
I’d love to see more of Eternity from Lemire, but rumor has it (or more accurately, Lemire’s Twitter) that this single issue is all that’s planned for the character for the time being.
The second Lemire book we’ll look at today is The Underwater Welder, out of Top Shelf Productions. The Underwater Welder is a black & white story that contains over two hundred pages not only written by Lemire, but also illustrated by him.
I’ll admit, I had heard about The Underwater Welder a few weeks ago, but had decided against it on the preconceived notion that a story about a guy welding underwater wasn’t going to be my thing.
Boy was I wrong.
The Underwater Welder is a story that touched me to my soul. It’s about the relationship between a father and son, a man and wife, and the insecurities and uncertainties of life, wrapped in a supernatural mystery that keeps you guessing throughout.
Jack Joseph works as an underwater welder on an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia. Being used to the life-threatening risks of deep-sea work hasn’t prepared him for the pressures of impending fatherhood. As he drifts further and further away from his young wife and their unborn son, something unexplainable happens. And that is only the beginning.
Lemire’s art has a style all its own, but the black & white, sketchy, elongated forms didn’t take away from the believability of the characters.
After reading The Underwater Welder, I’m extremely happy I picked it up. This is definitely a highlight of my comic book reading for this year.
I really don’t have much more to say about The Underwater Welder than that. Except, you need to get this book. It’ll cost you a pretty penny (US$19.99) but it’s worth picking up cold, and I guarantee you’ll read the whole thing in one setting.
The Underwater Welder is another perfect example of how great comic books can be outside of the cookie-cutter, superhero-saturated market.
I’m going to just come out and say it: if you’re not reading comics by Lemire, you’re missing out on some of the best comics on shelves these days. In twelve months, he’s proved to me he’s a writer you can trust.