What happens when we die is an eternal question that has plagued mankind since we first gained cognitive abilities, and for good reason. Dying is terrifying, objectively. The idea that one moment you’re here and the next moment you’re not, and you never will be again, it’s enough to send anyone into an existential crisis. Some people cope with it through religion and tales of an afterlife where — if you’re a good enough person — you’ll be rewarded; some people believe in reincarnation, so that when you die you manifest in a new form and continue the cycle of life and death; then there are people who believe that when you die, you die and that’s it.
Euthanauts offers possibly the first new idea in post-mortality reasoning in a good long while, and wraps it up in a beautifully presented and darkly foreboding package, delivered by three of the biggest breakout stars of the past few years. The ideas presented in Euthanauts are so captivating, you can’t help but wonder if Tini Howard, Nick Robles and Aditya Bidikar know something about life after death that we don’t, compelling you to read on so that you aren’t left behind when your time comes.
Robles’ layouts in Euthanauts #1 are masterfully presented; from the very first page, you can tell you’re in for something special. It’s a hard task to keep up with the none-more-goth stylings of Tini Howard, who is operating at her none-more-gothest, but Robles’ art in Euthanauts’ debut issue keeps up with her every step of the way, revealing the true wonders of collaboration; both creators feeding off each other’s energy to produce the best possible comic they can, something that wouldn’t exist without every part of the whole.
While the first issue of Euthanauts presents some heady and heavy concepts, it doesn’t get lost in building its world. It achieves that through the care given to the series’ lead, Thalia Rosewood, a funeral home receptionist whose fascination with the dead and the dying leads to her discovering a whole new world beyond the mortal realm. It’s hard to write a character so enamoured with death that’s also relatable, likable and not at all creepy, but Howard and Robles succeed in making Thalia a character we want to root for and a great viewpoint character as we learn about the series’ premise alongside her.
Euthanauts is a creepy book, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s also a beautifully rendered exploration of a concept which is the only true constant in life, something that has puzzled and plagued all mortal life for billions of years (except those immortal jellyfish; we’ll unlock their secrets one day). Euthanauts reads like the most interesting conversation with your most interesting friend, while also setting up a gripping and personal character study and a cliffhanger that brings everything back around from the first page in a way that’s satisfying and also leaves you with a need to read the second issue right away. All around, Euthanauts #1 is the complete package and another runaway success from IDW and Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint.