Last Days of an Immortal by Fabien Vehlmann

Archaia is one of the best comic publishers in my opinion. I have read quite a few of their books and I have yet to read a truly bad one, buuuuuuutttttt I may have to retract that statement. As always this one popped up on my Amazon feed and the title alone had me sucked in. I knew nothing else about it other than the title sounded cool and the cover art had me interested. I am such a sucker, that is all it took for me to surrender my hard earned money.

Fabien Vehlmann is a French writer who has been creating comics since 1996. I honestly do not know much about him other than his most famous work is Green Manor. I think Fabien is quite a bit more famous overseas, and I am not sure where to find any of his other works or if they are even available in the US.  

This one takes place in the far future where an officer for the Philosophical police is asked to take a new and very important case. Two species from another planet are on the verge of war and he is sent to try and figure out why and see if he can make a mends. Throughout the story Elijah uses the available technology to make “Echoes,” or copies of himself so he can get more work done. This is normal and everyone does this. Having this technology also makes everyone immortal. The only caveat is that once a person remerges with their Echo they lose one of their oldest memories. So having many Echoes ensures that you will never die, but when you incorporate their memories with the main person’s real ones, they will lose the oldest memories. Elijah must balance his work along with his personal life and memories, as he tries to solve an ancient murder.

This one surprised me for a couple of different reasons. As I said I did not know what this one was about prior, and once I started reading I was somewhat second guessing the story. It seemed like it was really going nowhere and this one was just going to be another story that ended up in my really really weird pile. While it was certainly weird, don’t get me wrong, it did come together somewhat nicely in the end. I will also say that there was a time when I thought about putting it down and finishing it later, I was that disinterested in it, but I am glad I didn’t.

While this one did have a neat, and somewhat worth it ending, dammit, it was hard to make sense of much of anything along the way. The story was sooooo bizarre that I honestly had a hard time getting much out of it. To me I felt like the author just tried to throw in way too many oddities and wired aspects to the story. To me if he just focused on the main issues it could have made for a better overall story, and at the very least a deeper story. For me there was just way too much extracurricular stuff going on that had little or nothing to do with the actual plot or real themes of the story. This story reminded me of a guy selling a really good product but by the end of the deal they are throwing in all these other gimmicks and all you really want is the main product.

Through the middle this one was a bit hard to read but there were some cool ideas and themes that are explored. I especially like the idea of immortality and the other things that come along with it, and that is mainly how the human psyche would handle this aspect. There is also a really cool caveat that comes along with being immortal, which I think is really neat and certainly something to think about. Without ruining anything, what would sacrifice some of your most favorite memories for immortality? It’s a tough question to answer because if you lost it you would no longer have any knowledge of it, so you would not necessarily feel bad about no longer remembering it. But I am sure there are some memories that you could never part with no matter what happens as those are probably what makes you, you, or in some way shaped your life. That is a whole other conversation, what memories do you have that are essential to the person that you have become, then what happens if you no longer have them to fall back on? Are you still the same person? That is certainly an interesting idea and something to think about. Also I like the motto on the back cover that states: “When you live forever what will you live for?” Again this is a an extremely deep question, and something to think about in your free time. I would even say that given the few years we have available on this planet, what will you live for in your short time? I think that is more important and even more difficult to come up with, because of the limited time. So yeah, I have some thinking to do.

The artwork in this one is extremely simple and in no way fancy. It is two dimensional and had little to no detail. With that being said it was not bad just different and certainly not was I was expecting, especially with the themes and genre of the story. I was expecting some highly detailed and stylized artwork for a sifi story like this, but that was not the case. This one is also in black and white, no color, which was not that big of a deal. Overall I think the artwork is somewhat lacking, but it is fine for the story. I would have liked to talk to the writer or artist to see why they chose this style, but o well.

The story for this one is really strange, I mean really strange, but there are some cool ideas that are presented I am just not sure about the overall execution of the story. I think there was just too much other nonsense going on that did not help the story and just added to the strange element. The artwork is extremely simple and is nothing over the top. But I just cannot get over the extra strange stuff in the story. For that reason I really have to say that you may want to steer clear of this one. This might be the first Achria Comic that I have said that about. So I guess read at your own risk, in saying that it is a pretty quick read. So if you are able to find a cheap copy you can fly through it, but you will not be missing anything if you don’t pick this one up.

Manik

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