Review – We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #11 (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Al Ewing
Artwork: Simone di Meo
Colour Assists: Mariasara Miotti
Lettering: AndWorld Design
Release Date: 22nd June 2022

A new arc of BOOM! Studios’ We Only Find Them When They’re Dead is always cause for celebration, and as we head into the home stretch of Al Ewing and Simone di Meo’s Eisner-nominated masterpiece, it’s worth reflecting on the fantastic story that has brought us to this point.

It started off as some top quality high-concept science fiction, set in a future where the impossibly large corpses of gods are found floating through space and are mined and harvested for their valuable parts.  Here we met Georges Malik, the captain of an “autopsy ship” who risks life and limb, including the lives of his crew, in his quest to be the first person to lay eyes on a living god.  At the end of the first arc, Georges and his crew disappear into the void. Then, almost a decade later, a brand new god corpse appears, this time bearing the face of Malik.

The second arc jumped us 50 years further into the future, and took an in-depth look at some of the theology that has sprung up surrounding Malik and his god-like return.  Taking a far less cosmic approach, this arc was situated in ‘Malik’s Flight’, a rebel colony which had been created around the floating god corpse.  Packed with political and religious intrigue, twists and turns – not to mention the return of Jason Hauer, a member of Malik’s original crew who had seemingly survived – it fleshed out the world beautifully, adding heft, gravitas and drama to Ewing and di Meo’s original story.

Now, in the final arc, we jump another forty-odd years further into the future, where rogue scientists are trying to use to the impossibly advanced technological materials found in the heart of the ‘god Malik’ to create an artificial intelligence to try and access his memories from the moment where he saw a living god. Their intention? To try and replicate the events that turned him into a god, of course.

Okay, so with that hefty exposition dump out of the way, let’s get to the point.  This is a fantastic series, and one that has been right at the top of my pull list since the first issue dropped back in 2020.  I’m a sucker for great sci-fi, and believe me, this is great sci-fi.  What I’m particularly enjoying is the sheer scope of it all, with Ewing utilising a rapidly-rotating cast of characters over the course of a century to tell a sprawling, epic story.

The other thing I’m absolutely loving about this series is the artwork of di Meo. His pages are nothing short of beautiful, blending intimate character beats with an almost dizzying level of scale, all wrapped up in a hazy, effervescent aesthetic that practically leaps off the page. The vast majority of this latest issue is little more than a series of talking heads as Jason, now a hundred and nine years-old, puts the latest iteration of the A.I, the Thierry-9, through its paces, but di Meo keeps things utterly gripping from start to finish with his expressive characters and creative framing choices.

The final pages lay out the intent for this final arc, setting the table beautifully for what promises to be a gripping conclusion.  Not only that, but Ewing throws in an eyebrow-raising cliffhanger – something of a specialty of this series – for good measure, adding one more wrinkle to an already thrilling story.

For me, this is the best science fiction comic since Image’s Black Science, and if you know me in any way, you’ll know that’s not a comparison I throw around lightly. Ewing and di Meo continue to reinvent their narrative, taking the story in unexpected new directions and keeping the reader on the edge of their seats throughout this wild journey.  If you haven’t already got on board with this series, I fully recommend you do so as soon as possible so you can enjoy this final arc as it happens.

Rating: 4.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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