Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Colours: Rico Renzi
Lettering: Tom Napolitano
Release Date: 11th May 2022
Jessica Harrow has no idea how she died. All she knows is that now she’s a Reaper, tasked with ferrying departed souls to their final destination. In the first issue of this new BOOM! Studios series, we get to see Jessica carrying out her duties by approaching unfortunate car crash victim Bryan and letting him know that he has officially shuffled off his mortal coil.
It’s difficult to know quite what to make of Jessica as a protagonist yet, being that she spends the bulk of this opening chapter in surly ‘Reaper’ mode. Indeed, poor Bryan actually comes across as the far more interesting character in the early going, with his love life drama and relatably shocked reaction to discovering that he’s, y’know, dead. However, given series writer (and BCP fave) Stephanie Phillips’ proven track record for delivering well-rounded protagonists, I have complete faith that we’ll be rooting for Jessica before too long.
Flaviano does a solid job with the artwork here, bringing this distinctive version of the afterlife to the page with a real confidence. The sequence on the “River Styx” in particular is a real visual treat with its sea of anonymous bodies. Also on the visual side of things, Rico Renzi’s colours do an impressive job of setting the mood, from the pale blues of the snow dusted crash-site to the striking magenta of Jessica’s outfit and scythe, and they particularly excel in the aforementioned “Styx” sequence.
While this is certainly a first issue that takes a little while to get going, it makes the most of that time to establish the setting and overall premise, if perhaps not its leading lady. We follow Jessica and Bryan to the afterlife (or rather, to the waiting room that comes before the afterlife), before an unexpected set of circumstances see them both returning to the world of the living – with a delicious little wrinkle thrown right in at the end for good measure.
Another intriguing new series from BOOM! Studios then, and while this is certainly more of an appetizer than a main course, there are enough intriguing storyline seeds being sown to make anyone picking this first issue up feel fairly confident about forking out for the second. A sharp, stylish take on the afterlife, this series has a ton of potential and is well worth a look.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]