Select one of the keywords
Afterdead 1: Desert Peach #31, #32, and Beyond    by Donna Barr order for
Afterdead 1
by Donna Barr
Order:  USA  Can
A Fine Line Press, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

The word eclectic could certainly be used to describe this collection by Donna Barr. The book includes issues #31 and #32 of her series The Desert Peach as well as additional comic stories and two contiguous short stories - in total, three hundred and twenty pages of pure fun.

Readers new to Barr may find themselves a bit lost at the onset of this book, as she works to merge all her different comic worlds into one, and most have quite complex but amusing storylines. With elements of science-fiction intermixed with social and political commentary, the comics portion of this collection follows Pfirsich Rommel as he battles his inner demons in a post-mortem state. His deliberations send him into the future in search of descendants to set him on the right path. But given Rommel's past as a Nazi, just what is the right path? His descendant, Oiseau Birdman, traffics an illegal drug that allows people to breath air (with some nasty side effects) at a cheaper rate than offered by the company with the monopoly on it.

The art is consistently rough throughout, but in a manner that fits Barr's quixotic storytelling. The first story (The Desert Peach #31) is presented in color and even Barr admits in the introduction that she experimented a good deal in trying to determine her style. The use of bright colors and often a blur mix of several colors invokes a certain surrealism that is reinforced by the story itself. However, Barr's talent and style seems to be predominantly in black and white art, so her colored work feels out of place with the other pieces. But even her prose proves compelling and enjoyable.

Barr inserts introductions to each of the pieces that give background information but also discuss her characters in a conversational fashion. However, sometimes she explains elements insufficiently or makes references that not all will understand, causing some confusion. Though Barr's talent is evident, new readers might not come to that assessment easily. Patience is needed in reading her work, but those who work their way through will be well rewarded by Barr's quirky humor and wit.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews