Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Death: The Time of Your Life, by Neil Gaiman, Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham & Dave McKean

(pb; 1996: three-issue comic book mini-series. Sequel to Death: The High Cost of Living.)


Foxglove (whose girl-with-a-guitar concert Death attended in Death: The High Cost of Living) and her girlfriend, Hazel, are now financially well-off, thanks to Foxglove's record deal and pop star popularity - and they have a son (Alvie, a parting gift from Hazel's sperm donor ex). They should be on top of the world, but they're not.

Foxglove, on an international tour, is struggling to deal with fame issues; Hazel, at their L.A. house, is feeling distant from her lover - who has yet to "come out" about her relationship with Hazel. Not only that, Hazel misses New York state, where they hail from. Things are falling apart for them.

Enter Death - kind, no-nonsense, wise - who has come into their midsts for reasons not entirely clear to both of them. . .

Time is a melancholic masterpiece that not only builds on, but all-around deepens its mood palate of love, death, cleverness, loss, regret, and possibly redemption.

Like The High Cost of Living, Time is worth owning. It's also available in graphic novel form.


Death has appeared in other comics since Time. One of these comics - a single-shot issue - is Action Comics #894, published in December 2010. It is the fifth part of an ongoing storyline, "The Black Ring."The plot: Lex Luthor, hovering between life and death after an attack, is treated to a chastening visit by Death, who's doing her best to steer Luthor toward a peaceful resolution - a resolution he's fighting and manipulating every step of the way.

This segment of "The Black Ring" storyline is fun, but compared to the happenings, moods and characters of Time it feels like a trifle work, a crossover that brings together two interesting characters who don't quite mesh (and makes Luthor look doltish and disingenuous at key points).

Worth checking out, this - maybe owning for a dollar, if you're a Death completist, or a Lex Luthor fan.

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