Friday, May 4, 2018

Reborn Volume 1 Review

Must be Mark Millar's Reborn!

Written by: Mark Millar
Penciller: Greg Capullo
Inker: Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: Fco Plascencia
Lettering/Design: Nate Piekos
Editor: Rachael Fulton
Publisher: Image Comics (MillarWorld)
Reviewed by: Andrew McAvoy

You know, I'm man enough to admit it, I'm a sentimental guy. Plus since having kids I've been acutely aware of the sheer speed at which time passes. I remember as a teenager thinking that people worrying about dying were nuts. I couldn't empathize with Woody Allen's neurosis in his movies at all. Now though, I try to make more time for small moments.

This book, at its core, is about those small moments that make a difference. As central character Bonnie's nurse tells her in one of the first pages of this volume, "our lives are a constant series of random interactions each one changing things a million times a day".

This book is predicated on the idea that after we die, or more accurately as we are dying, we go to an afterlife where we gravitate towards and congregate with our loved ones. Each of us enters this afterlife at a different age, so you can enter it old or young, or middle aged. Bonnie arrives into this afterlife, and is reunited with her father and her childhood pet. She is not, upon arrival, reunited with her husband, but before she can seek him out there is a higher call on her time. In this life she is cast by a prophesy as a savior who will rescue the populace from Golgotha who is terrorizing people in this new life.

The remainder of the book shows how Bonnie and her father proceed to try and fulfill that prophecy (with a side project of seeking out Bonnie's husband), who died before her as a victim of a mass shooting. A narrative trick that reels me in with a book is the technique of moving backwards and forward in a timeline. So we see flashbacks to Bonnie's childhood, her marriage, the death of her husband, her activities in later life, and her illness during which she is supported by her daughter and granddaughter. There are borderline entimental touches, but I'm a sucker for those touches and have to confess they tugged at my heartstrings a little.

Meanwhile the art duties are handled by a tried and trusted team of Capullo, Glapion, and Plascencia. Whether it is the horrific monstrosities that Bonnie and her father have to battle against in the afterlife, the trippy faeries and their queen, or the incredible art depicting life scenes flashing before Bonnie during the transition, it is rendered so brilliantly. One thing I noticed was Bonnie's eyes, the one common feature between the aged character and her younger afterlife incarnation. Both retain the piercing aqua blue eyes as their only remaining common trait. Capullo isn't to everyone's taste but personally I think he's one of the best in the business and this is an artistic team that I trust to deliver a high quality output.

Bits and Pieces

This volume is really a moving story, and I embrace its sentimental aspects. Some won't but they are heartless fiends! There are intriguing ideas left to be explored and Millar has in the past spoken about ideas for a fifth volume which indicates that this is a terrain he hasn't finished exploring. We are guaranteed a second installment at the very least, and a Netflix commission for a TV adaptation. One interesting point to note is that in this book there is a further depiction of "an afterlife after an afterlife". Things could get pretty mind-blowing as we move forward. As it stands this volume will be thoroughly satisfying for readers in the meantime.


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