The concepts of where we go when we die have been as old as time itself. The theories and beliefs are as varied as the people who believe them. But imagine a concept that takes into consideration HOW you died to determine where you go. That is the initial foundation for Chris Miskiewicz and Vincent Kings, This is Where We Fall. It all starts in space.

Gravity Still Works

An unnamed man is trying to send a data packet of information stolen from NASA on an international space station in order to possibly prevent a war. That was the mission. Sounded simple enough for the Major. Who needs names when you have ranks. In fact, the only name mentioned during this time was his counterpart, Sally. It was Sally that he was supposed to rendezvous with had his mission went without a hitch. Naturally, it did not. An explosive decompression on the Space Station flung him away from the Station and left him basically free falling toward the planet. Despite his best efforts to slow his descent, he impacted…hard! Wow, that was a quick story. Except, it wasn’t.

 

Making an Impact

The Major found himself in a major impact hole with water in his helmet. However, once he dumped the water, he appeared to be none the worse for wear…much to his surprise. His computer on the other hand, was dealing with its own issues. But at least it was communicating with him. Basically to tell him that most of his systems had an owie and were offline. Plus, the transmission that he had been trying to send may or may not have been sent. So much for saving the world.

The good news however, was that his systems could recharge themselves with the appropriate bio fuel. By biofuel it meant dead skin and hair follicles. Ewww. But hey, whatever charges the systems. In the meantime, he was isolated and alone. He needed to see if there was civilization somewhere. Of course, the GPS Systems were also down. So it was pick a direction and start hoofing it.

Civilization, Western Style

He walked along for what probably seemed like an eternity until he reached his first sign of civilization: old western saloon. Of course, just what one might expect to find. He walked through the swinging doors and found one lone individual. A cowboy, smoking a cigarette and helping himself to some liquor. At least one might assume that’s what it was. The Cowboy recognized the Major as a newcomer to the territory. Score one for eyesight, there Cowboy. However, the Major has a mission to complete. He still needs to send his transmission off. All he needs is an information hub, or a functioning internet device, or even a telephone. Nope, nada, not a chance was the Cowboys response. In fact, he was pretty sure that the Major had no idea where he was…and he was right.

Being not a man to mix words, he offered the Major a drink and explained the situation. Basically, what most people thought they knew about the afterlife was incorrect. It had nothing to do with how you lived your life, if you were good or bad. It all hinged on how you died. And the place he was at now, is where people go who died from a fall. And that included the Major. He died from his fall and now he was here. So in other words: This is Where We Fall.

Leaving Town

It is from there that the story expands with more characters introduced as they explore their different circumstances. Each one has a different tale which lead them to this particular destination. But all of them were threatened by a mysterious stranger. Someone from the Major’s past that was following him and was taking no prisoners along the way. This was in conjunction with a group called the Knights of the Order. An armor clad posse who believed all they came across were evil and needed to be cleansed by holy fire. Between the two, those in the western town felt the need to escape.

And since the Major (who was still struggling with the idea he was dead) still needed to find a way to send his transmission, they decided to go toward Octavia City. It was there he hoped to complete his mission, while the remaining townsfolk merely hoped to continue their afterlife. How bad is it when you have to escape death even AFTER you die? Unfortunately, even the nine blocks of the so-called crime capital of  Miami wasn’t immune to the Knights of the Order. Those folk are tenacious. So it was onward to Abraxis-Nine. It was here that they discovered the truth about what was happening and the possibility that everything was not as it seemed. This, I leave for you the reader to discover. But rest assure that author Miskiewicz put a different twist on the proceedings that will surprise and an ending (?) that should satisfy.

Thoughts

This book captured my attention merely by its unique look at the afterlife. The idea that how you die was the deciding factor in where you went afterwards was a concept that I hadn’t ever considered. Miskiewicz used some clever ideas to bring it all about and an even more imaginative way to tie the different characters together at the conclusion. I also found it interesting that he basically gave no names to his characters throughout the book. Except for the dog he introduces about two thirds of the way through. This, as I learned from the author when asked about the lack of names during our interview, was a done with a purpose.

It was. (And I tried not to give the dog a name as well, but enjoyed the jokes between him and the Garbage-Man too much to cut.) On a surface level, I was trying to say that who they were, and the lives they lived before this story no longer mattered to the narrative by not giving them names. However, I’m afraid that if I say any more about my other reason I’ll spoil the twist ending.

Trust me, his reasoning, after you read the book, will make sense. One of the great things about the book is it doesn’t sacrifice action for the philosophical ground it covers. Miskiewicz keeps things moving from the jump…or the fall. Together, with Vincent Kings artwork, it makes This is Where They Fall an enjoyable read and well worth your time. And speaking of Mr. Kings…

Artwork

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This is Where We Fall‘s storyline required an artist capable of handling a diverse set of environments and characters with equal skill. Vincent Kings was more than capable of the task as he handled deep space scenes, western saloons, and big cityscapes along with the characters involved with great expertise. One of his most imaginative techniques was to slant the panels when depicting scenes of fallen areas. This included Octavia City and and Abraxis-Nine. I guess THAT was what they mean when the say a city has “fallen” on hard times and Mr. Kings brought it all to life.

So be sure to check it out. This is Where We Fall from Z2 comics is available where great comics and graphic novels are sold. You can also read our interview with Chris about the book here.

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