Life, death, regrets, and more are the topics covered within this fantastically colorful and inventively gorgeous and deep cautionary tale of an issue from what is one of the best comic books on the stands. This creative team takes the amazing work that has already been done in previous issues and elevates it to almost unbelievable levels. The story of Death/Laila Starr and Darius Shah is truly just the story of humanity itself, which makes it all that much better.
Every so often in life, there are pieces of media a person encounters that just defy not only all expectations but transcend what one even thought possible within the medium. This is truly the case with each and every single issue so far of The Many Deaths of Laila Starr.
What Ram V, Filipe Andrade, Inês Amaro, and Deron Bennett have accomplished with this series is almost beyond words. As with the previous issues, this one tackles the ongoing story of humanity and our relationships both with those around us and with life/death itself, through the character of Death herself (who was fired) in human Laila Starr form and the young man Darius Shah that caused her to be fired in the first place. The art and coloring from Andrade and Amaro are just as bright and colorful and stylish as the previous issues, the varying ways that Andrade depicts the human body being a delight to behold.
Yet, they of course were not satisfied just having this issue be similar to the last in the format of the two characters encountering one another and having a discussion. No, this one not only catches up on what Starr has been up to since her last resurrection but what Darius has been up to in the years since then but does it in the most unique way possible. How does one top the idea of Death being reborn over and over in a mortal body because she was fired and the young man that is meant to stop all death from happening and all the stylized choices shown off in the first two issues, you might ask?
Apparently, it was simple for this team, you just have the story being told from the point of view of a cigarette that has gained brief sentience thanks to the ‘kiss’ of Death when Laila smokes it. Yes, you read that correctly. The story narrator is a cigarette.
When one thinks about it this makes sense because cigarettes are all about burning bright and fading quickly while infecting quite a bit of harm that is disguised by the ‘pleasure’ that one believes themselves to gain from that moment. This is a big descriptor in many ways for life and for how Death is living her moral life and hits along with many of the words of wisdom she dispenses to Darius in the issue.
It’s not just enough that they have the captions be from the cigarette, the whole team gets in on selling this piece of the story and making it better and better. Andrade perfectly captures the ‘eyeline’ of the cigarette for many of the panels, letting us see the narrated bits through the vision of this cigarette. Then here comes Bennett who takes the aforementioned narration captions and makes them smoke cloud word boxes which are utter perfection. This is the space where one would drop in the most perfect chef kiss gif if this was on social media.
As mentioned above the series has all these supernatural and fantastical elements while really being quite grounded in the sense of its humanity focus. There are deep truths being spoken here and it really hits home about our time on this planet and the pains we go through and the ones we put ourselves through often.
This is truly not just one of the best comics on the stands currently but one of the best comic series ever. It truly is just that good.
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #3 is now on sale in print and digitally from BOOM! Studios.