By Lela Gwenn.
Last Days of the Immortal - by Gwen De Bonneval & Fabien Vehlmann.
In the distant future, Elijah is a member of the “Philosophical Police,” who must solve conflicts that arise out of ignorance of the Other. Two species are fighting a war with roots in a crime committed centuries ago, and Elijah must solve the crime and bring peace between their species, while also confronting his own immortality in a world where science provides access to eternal life. In a world where death no longer exists, why do so many want to give up on life?
This graphic novel was pretty damn good.
The Art: Clean, simple, and stark - this book isn’t for the reader looking for dense, super realistic or detailed art, but it has a distinctly graphic feel that I really enjoyed. The artist really takes advantage of interesting wide shots.
The Story: There are a couple of things going on. The main “science fiction” element of this piece is the idea that a person can be basically immortal by making copies of themselves. Each copy made loses some of the oldest memories, but hey… you get to live forever!
This leads to the “cop” side of the story, where the Main Character is investigating a problem - acting as a sort of middle man diplomat. This puts his 5 copies doing different things simultaneously. This could be CRAZY CONFUSING. But it isn’t. Bonneval and Vehlmann manage, through words and pictures, to make it all happen seamlessly.
There are some really interesting world building - how being able to change the shape your “self” is contained in blurs the line of sexuality. After a couple hundred years - even the kinkest sex gets boring. I have to say I was a tiny bit uncomfortable with at least one of the choices, but at the same time it didn’t seem out of line for the world they had built, so I let it go.
There was one weakness in the story - and unfortunately it lays at it’s heart. The question of why people choose to die if they can live forever. In this regard, I think the story falls a bit short. The main character’s crisis feels remote. A few well placed flashbacks could have remedied this. I think the idea was to leave us with a since of mystery, but for me this part of the story fell flat.
All in all, it’s a good story, strong art and a worth while read.