Calum Petrie reviews The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #2…
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr received rave reviews and numerous reprints of its debut issue, which is only fair as it tells a wonderfully colourful story containing every moral grey area. The story is based around the goddess of death and her recent unemployment, as a human who has been born who will one day create immortality.
Sent down to live as a mortal in the recently deceased body of Laila Starr, her mission is to kill the child who put her out a job in an attempt to return to her former life, or at least get revenge.
The problem with mortality is that it has never been a fair coin toss, as it factors in far too many dynamics. The person who is passing is never usually the only one affected, and this issue in particular shows the acceptance of death in a class-based society. A very hard-hitting story delivered through the eyes of a child, when tales of friendship and kindness are snuffed out it is the first steps of opening their eyes to the grand scheme of the world.
Laila Starr is brought back to life eight years after her death in issue one. Standing speaking to the god of life, who is sipping his tea and watching the entirety of Mumbai from his penthouse, she is granted new life from her old colleague and is given another chance to attack her prey now he is no longer a newborn, but instead an 8-year-old child.
The newest companion on Laila’s quest is a funeral crow, guising her through the mourning process of humanity. The gives Laila a new insight into what happens after her job has been carried out, and doubling coupled as a therapist for her current conflict, the crow makes a fitting travelling companion for this ex-god’s new journey.
The story of the boy Darius plays out throughout the issue, with Pranah narrating the boy’s vision of summer and the groundskeeper character who will ever be tied to the word “summer” for Darius. The tale of a gentle giant man, with the patience of a thousand men and the work ethic of a trojan, is absolutely heart-breaking when the class-based system is introduced. A man’s station in life is tied to where he can set foot and who he should be allowed to talk to; these are concepts a child struggles to get their head around.
The tale is played off so elegantly and told with a greatly deal of wide-eyed innocence, daring the reader to place yourself into a far more sympathetic role than you intended to be in when picking up the issue, and making the reader aware of a morally conflicted revenge tale, while getting a glimpse into the potential victim’s journey into the man who put Death out of a job.
While the story is an extremely strong reason to experience this ongoing tale, it plays second fiddle to the mind-bogglingly beautiful artwork. The character design of long-limbed giants and wide-eyed children are a joy to gaze upon, with a colour palette that ties extremely subtle yet power imagery onto the page.
This series will play over in my head time and time again, that is a powerful thing for a series with only two issues released so far. The Many Deaths of Laila Starr is unlike anything else I am reading at the moment. Read this issue, and support the outstanding creativity and talent of the team of Ram V, Filipe Andrade and everyone else who has left their hearts of the pages for you to experience.
Rating – 10/10
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