Note: This review was originally published at ComicsBulletin.com
Readers have learned to expect the unexpected from Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo’s The Life After. Just when it seems like the world has been fully fleshed out, the creative team add new layers that are delightfully twisted. Shifting the focus from Jude and Hemingway’s journey, Essie and her band of child warrior compatriots enter Hell with the help of the mysterious woman from previous issues, nicely referred to as “Hellbitch.” Unfortunately, entering into this realm turns Hellbitch from a peculiar-looking woman into a behemoth. The ensuing battle between her and Essie takes up the majority of the page count, providing plenty of laughs along the way.
As a result of the aforementioned fight sequence, The Life After #9 is a painfully quick read. Although this is a fun issue, the lack of substantial character or plot development cause it to feel ultimately like filler. Any tension is undermined by crass humor, which Fialkov uses to the point of excess. Furthermore, the issue’s conclusion is overly violent and abrupt that should come with a warning for readers regarding potential whiplash injuries. These factors result in The Life After #9 becoming perhaps the weakest entry in the series, far from a bad thing given it’s overall quality.