Review:The Underwater Welder

Published on October 30th, 2012

Jeff Lemire has turned himself into a force to be reckoned with in comics these last couple of years.  He has made a name for himself with his Essex County Trilogy and the launch of his Vertigo series Sweet Tooth along with writing titles for DC comics and launching popular titles like Animal Man in the DC 52. The man seems to be a comic book making machine with absolutely no signs of letting up. He’s wrapping up his run on Sweet Tooth and looks to be launching another comic for Vertigo sometime next year, announced this year at New York Comic Con, it is called Trillium, the last love story ever told. Most recently his newest original graphic novel was released through Top Shelf, The Underwater Welder.

The Underwater Welder tells the story of a man named Jack Joseph who works as an underwater welder. Jack his married with a soon to be born child. Jack also has personal issues that he still holds close to his chest that are coming to light and start affecting him in ways that are making him distant from his very pregnant wife and his mother, it is also affecting his job, which seems to be the only thing he enjoys doing. One day when he is at work and he notices something in the water that sends him on mysterious and supernatural adventure that changes his life. This adventure also allows him to see what his problems are and if he wants to deal with them or run away from them. It’s a journey of self discovery and forgiveness and realizations that run deep and could end up being soul satisfying or soul crushing.

Having read most of Lemire’s library a lot of the themes he likes to explore come up in this comic, mostly family issues and relationships, responsibilities, fatherhood, and their meanings, both to himself and whatever the reader finds for themselves. His writing is deep and his storytelling is the best that it has ever been. Lemire is not afraid to hold on moments, making them important, and he also makes his characters very real and relatable. His strength as a writer is the ability to introduce characters with no previous life in other books and make you feel like you know them on a very personal basis. The art in this book is a very beautiful rendered black and white and grayscales which he uses to their fullest strength.

I cannot predict the future but from what I’ve seen from Lemire I can tell that he’s only just begun and that he is going to be one of the most important comic book creators of our time. His ability to make his stories so personal and make them strongly resonate with in yourself that you still think about the story days after you’ve read it is a testament to the kind of storyteller he has become.

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