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We Only Find Them When They’re Dead

Al Ewing, writer
Simone Di Meo, artist
Mariasara Miotti, color assist
AndWorld Design, letterer
Boom! Studios
$3.99

Boom! Studios is quickly becoming my new favorite publisher. Everything they’ve put out lately has been a blast, and We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 continues the trend. Combining the incredible talents of writer Al Ewing and artist Simone Di Meo, the new series feels like something truly special.

Taking place on the edge of known space, the comic shows us a future where dead space gods that randomly appear in the dark. No one has any idea where they come from, but they represent raw materials to a resource-starved humanity.

When a dead god is discovered, fleets of autopsy ships descend on it in a frenzy. Malik, captain of the Vihan II, chafes under the oppressive system that has him competing for cosmic scraps. So, when presented with the opportunity to break free and see a living god, he and his crew jump at the chance.

The comic isn’t quite cosmic horror, though if you’ve been reading the fantastic Immortal Hulk you’ll know that Ewing has some experience in that field, too. It’s more like… cosmic eeriness. Exactly where the Vihan’s journey will take us remains to be seen. The end of the first issue feels like there‘s a number of different paths open for the story to go down. Cosmic horror, mystery, and adventure are likely candidates, but anything is possible. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get some serious psychological drama thrown into the mix given Malik’s Ahab-like quest.

 

Ewing’s story definitely has echoes of Jack Kirby from the 1970s, given how he repeatedly used the concept of massive alien space gods and their relationship with humanity. That said, it feels fresh and inspired, taking the original concept and running in a totally unexpected direction. Ewing establishes his gritty space opera setting quickly, naturally teasing out all the details we need to understand just how dystopian things have become.

The art –and I cannot stress this enough– is incredible. Seriously: This is one of the best-looking comics I’ve read in a while. The color gradient effects on several pages actually felt like they were guiding my eyes on where to go next. Two other things that deserve special call-outs are the character designs (the space god we get to see is especially surprising) and how Di Meo conveys action in space.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 is an incredible start to a new series. Ewing and Di Meo have created something absolutely stellar here, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Mike Thompson is a writer living in Northern California. He spends much of his time running, baking, and desperately scrounging for another cup of coffee. Feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

September 1, 2020
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