Review: “A.D.: After Death”

A.D.: After DeathA.D.: After Death by Scott Snyder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read plenty of comics and graphic novels (and enjoy many of them) but every so often I stumble across a graphic novel that feels like it achieves a higher level of craftsmanship. I haven’t read much of Snyder’s work, but Lemire is a dependable favorite of mine in the comics world. And together, the two of them have constructed a truly fascinating work in “A.D.”

Combining prose, comics, illustrations, and visual style in a unique blend, “A.D.” initially feels a little unsettling in its nonlinear movement between separate parts of the story’s timeline. The tone is solemn, sometimes sparse, and very often takes on a thoughtful, philosophical tone – though always grounded in very human experience.

The threat of mortality, identity, connection, memory, the unity of parts to make a whole – there are so many themes woven into this volume in both content and symbolism. As the story progresses, disparate pieces recur, mirror each other, link together – until everything in the graphic novel is working together to form a unified whole. And even with all the philosophical layers underlying the story, the forward momentum is grounded in the experience of the protagonist who faces very real questions and very personal struggles over the course of a story that blends science fiction seamlessly into a narrative that feels familiar to our own world – right through an ending that is unexpected and resonant, lingering past the final page of the story.

It’s a complex story well-delivered through every aspect of its visual and narrative telling. It’s engaging in the moment, and one of those stories that is worth thinking about even after you’re finished reading it.

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