We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 — coming from BOOM! Studios on September 2 — is a space opera written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Simone Di Meo with colors assists from Mariasara Miotti, and lettered by AndWorld Design.
We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 Story
Al Ewing, venturing outside of his Marvel titles like The Immortal Hulk, writes a space opera with a unique premise. We Only Find Them When They’re Dead shows readers a glimpse of a space age where the emptiness of space takes a new meaning. Times are getting tough for a space autopsy crew that mines the bodies of dead god-like beings. These gods all appear at random points in the universe, and rather than acting as things of worship, discovery, or despair, they’re just another means of resources. It’s a pretty melancholic feeling that the reader shares with the crew’s captain who they meet in a prologue. The main story has him looking rather burned out about everything, like this way of life doesn’t suit him anymore. Especially when this “god mining” security looks at him with hostility despite being non-threatening to them. Readers can’t help but support the captain and crew’s journey for meaning to get some life back in them.
Simone Di Meo dedicates We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 to his late mother, “who taught (Di Meo) to look at the stars.”
Di Meo uses the emptiness of space to highlight the designs of the ships, each with a unique style with a common characteristic: a spherical chamber that defines an autopsy ship and cuts and stores samples in the “god-mining.” With how these ships take apart the gods, it practically describes the bleak situations of the series; they’re like maggots mindlessly eating away carcasses. No one bothers to figure out what kills these gods, just harvest their remains for money. Even the other ships with different designs and purpose work to keep it like that, such as a sleeker escort ship built for speed which features engines connected with an arc.
Di Meo colors these ships and empty settings with assistance from Mariasara Miotti. Most of the colors set the mood of what panel they take place in. The light purple vastness of space feels cool and practically worry free. That is until a red coloring shows up indicating a skirmish or dangerous presence. A small instance even has the entire interior of a ship yellow as a warning to its occupants. Compare this to the mostly single color panels featuring the main characters’ ship which has a green interior with yellow holograms. It’s an indicator that danger is near yet the crew stays out of trouble. It’s like both artists are keeping things afloat in We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1.
AndWorld Design provides some quality lettering to We Only Find When They’re Dead #1. The word balloons and captions provide a smooth and easy-to-follow trail to guide readers. On the note of captions, the lack of borders presents this omniscient narration that tells the story along with some of the characters. The main cast essentially has an ally that sometimes features words with colored outlines that match the background. It explains who some of the characters are with their identifying colors, but it also lets the captions blend in, which can make them a bit hard to read at times. Thankfully the lighter color word balloons make identification for voices that readers can’t recognize since they speak from their ships. Meanwhile, the inside of ships have the standard white coloring, and the rare instances of having several characters in the same space makes the distinctive lettering important, as this is having clear communication.
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We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #1 leans subtly into finding meaning in a space devoid of thriving life. People have a common goal, but separate themselves through their diverging perspectives. I’m looking forward to what this space crew will do later in the series.