In our distant future, science will provide access to eternal life. With immortality a universal constant, the concept of crime takes on a new definition, giving rise to the “Philosophical Police”, agents trained to solve conflicts between individuals as well as entire species of aliens who have integrated into our society. When two such species erupt in violence over a crime committed centuries ago, Police agent Elijah must submerge himself in each culture to understand how to overcome their ignorance of each other and bring about peace. Soon, however, he finds himself confronting his own immortality, and examining the concept of death itself…
In a world where death no longer exists, why do so many want to give up on life?
LAST DAYS OF AN IMMORTAL is a classic, cerebral science fiction story in the tradition of JG Ballard, Gattaca, Solaris, and THX 1138.
Fabien Vehlmann est comme son héros : pétillant, engagé et plein d'humour.
Après avoir patiemment suivi les cours d'une école de commerce nantaise, Fabien Vehlmann réalise que sa voie est ailleurs. Bien décidé à se lancer dans la bande dessinée, il se consacre à l'écriture de manière intensive durant une année entière. Il empile les projets et inonde scrupuleusement la rédaction du journal Spirou. Sa ténacité est récompensée : il y fait ses débuts dans le courant de l'année 1998. Dans les pages du beau journal, il apprend son métier en scénarisant des animations, puis ses premières séries dont le fameux "Green Manor" avec Denis Bodart.
Curieux et enthousiaste, Vehlmann touche à tous les genres : humour, science-fiction, aventure, conte,... Il multiplie les collaborations avec des dessinateurs aux styles aussi divers que Matthieu Bonhomme ("Le Marquis d'Anaon"), Frantz Duchazeau ("Les Cinq conteurs de Bagdad") ou Bruno Gazzotti ("Seuls"). En 2006, il réalise une première aventure de Spirou et Fantasio avec Yoann : "Les Géants Pétrifiés". Quatre ans plus tard, les deux compères reprennent en main la destinée du plus célèbre héros des Editions Dupuis...
Les albums de Spirou qu'il emmènerait sur une île déserte : Le Nid des Marsupilamis, Le Voyageur du Mésozoïque et Virus.
Fabien Vehlmann - author of the excellent “Green Manor” series, a much underrated book called “7 Psychopaths”, and a collaboration a couple of years ago with Jason, “Isle of 100,000 Graves” - returns with another highly imaginative and well written work with “Last Days of an Immortal”.
Set in the distant future where mankind has reached a point where death is no longer an inevitability and that people regularly live hundreds of years. They can also replicate themselves a number of times - called “echoes” - who can then set off into the world and do other things before being assimilated back into the original body and their memories absorbed by the host. There’s also a vast array of alien races who, along with humans, are part of an intergalactic Union, like Star Trek’s “Federation”.
Elijah is the main character, a Professor X lookalike who is a member of the Philosophical Police who have been tasked with arbitrating a case between two alien races whose dispute reaches back millennia where one member of the species was murdered by another. Unless Elijah can defuse the situation, war will erupt.
Very sci-fi, right? The book reminded me of the kind of sci-fi books written by Asimov and Ballard which I read when I was 12/13 years old. The invention is there but at the heart of it is something recognisable that would be a mainstream storyline if presented more mundanely: a murder mystery. Alongside this main story is a more interesting, philosophical one - if people can live forever, why do some voluntarily choose death?
Despite the many outlandish settings, characters, and even concepts, the book is very accessible and interesting once you grasp what’s going on. But for all the creative aspects of the book I found the characters and story a little cold and distant for me to really connect with either and the artwork is a bit lacklustre in places. Otherwise, “Last Days of an Immortal” is a perfectly enjoyable sci-fi mystery comic book with originality and intelligence.
Vehlmann es otro historietista que siempre me parece interesante. Este tomo no es la excepción, ciencia ficción y un misterio detectivesco se unen para mostrar un futuro muy lejano donde la humanidad descubre la inmortalidad haciendo duplicados de cada persona y donde debe convivir con otras razas y entender sus costumbres (para lo cual hay una especie de policía filosófica, con un investigador estrella, que es el protagonista). Mi único pero es al arte de Bonneval, creo que es demasiado sencillo y no funciona tan bien.
Reason for Reading: "The premise sounded intriguing, I like crime/detective fiction, science fiction and this also sounded like it would have a dystopian vibe. All things that interested me.
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up and started reading with how much I loved the art. It was astonishingly stark and understated and yet fully drew one into the story. This is a prime example of less is more. In this future world which is our Earth, people no longer die as we know it. By accepting certain memory loss one can transfer ones brain data into an "echo" of oneself and live indefinitely. Here characters were aged well into their 400's. People can use technology to change one's appearance, experience physical pleasure and clothing is a personal style and even optional. Many alien nations have joined the "community" and Elijah's job is to keep the peace between species though psychology and philosophy. This is his story, of the several cases he is working on at once and how a few personal problems affect his own psyche and the eventual choices he makes. The dystopian reality of this society is presented simply in the life and legal rules of this society. The author never brings any judgement upon them, yet due to choices made by certain characters and the readers reasoning in evaluating such a state of being, one can see all the possible fears in this current generation come true within this age where many issues of life must be dealt with if immortality is to be the order of the day, A compelling and page-turning read. Of note, this book is very much rated "M" for ages 18+; there is language, frontal nudity of both s*xes, and while artistically rendered, still graphic, s*x scenes. The language bothered me but the rest was not gratuitous. Recommended for those looking for a thought-provoking graphic story.
Fabien Vehlmann est l'un des scénaristes de BD qui a le vent en poupe. Après son travail remarqué sur Seuls, Le Marquis d'Anaon (voir les articles ici) ou encore Des lendemains sans nuage (voir l'article ici), il signe ici un scénario ambitieux publié dans la collection Futuropolis. Tellement ambitieux d'ailleurs que je vais être bien en peine pour vous en parler. Nous suivons Elijah qui exerce la profession de détective ou de policier philosophe. Jusqu'ici, c'était facile. Dans ce univers complètement original, l'on ne tue pas vraiment les gens — ou très rarement — mais leurs échos, c'est à dire des représentations physiques d'une personne source — un peu comme des clones. Elijah est l'un des enquêteurs les plus prestigieux et est chargé de résoudre des affaires complexes dont certaines peuvent impliquer des peuples aux cultures complètement différentes.
Résoudre un crime vieux de plusieurs milliers d'années. Ca vous tente ?
L'esthétique de la BD est très réussie, des dessins simples utilisant du noir et un lavis bleu pale confèrent une poésie et une unité à l'ensemble. Tout est à l'avenant, le design des personnages — celui d'Elijah correspond très bien au personnage — mais aussi l'architecture des bâtiments et les paysages. C'est un très beau conte philosophique sur la relation entre les êtres — a fortiori ceux qui ne partagent pas le même référentiel et donc ceux qui ne se comprennent pas. Il traite aussi de la vie diluée par les moyens de communication et les barrières protectrices que nous mettons entre nous et les autres et qui aboutissent au final à une perte de sens. Deux sujets qui sont plus que jamais d'actualité.
"LAST DAYS OF AN IMMORTAL is a classic, cerebral science fiction story in the tradition of JG Ballard, Gattaca, Solaris, and THX-1138"
What more do I need to hear? JG Ballard? Gattaca?? Solaris??? Actually, they had me at "Gattaca," and I'd say I picked up on that, and the other nuances. Basically, if you enjoy any of those things, and can appreciate the simplistic, effectual art (that actually seems an homage to old cartoon illustration styles of the 60s and 70s), and strangeness of the futuristic developments of this society, then this book will probably "do it" for you.
One of the things that I enjoy about finite graphic novels, you can enjoy the beginning and ending, and cherish the story as a whole without unintentional lose ends trailing off in whichever direction. Unfortunately, I wish there were more to this book because it moves fluidly and too soon ends before you're ready to close the back cover.
¿Merece la pena vivir para siempre perdiendo una y otra vez tus recuerdos más preciados, por muy fascinante que trabajar como xenopsicólogo en la policía filosófica o conocer los nuevos placeres que nos deparará el futuro pueda llegar a ser? El planteamiento es sencillo, al adquirir la capacidad de duplicar nustro cuerpo manteniendo la mente intacta podemos ser imortales teniendo una “copia” siempre disponible. La parte filosófica no se hace aburrida ni parece un tratado. Aparte hay una serie de investigaciones de “exopsicología” que hacen entretenida la parte más liviana, sin contar con las posibilidades que plantea el dominio de la materia. Un cómic muy francés que encontré por casualidad en Flash Libreria (Granada) y que os recomiendo. "Los últimos días de un inmortal", Gwen de Bonneval & Fabien Vehlmann, Ninth Ediciones
A very smart sci-fi story, but I just couldn’t connect with it. Nothing seemed to be on the line, even with the threat of war looming over the outcome of protagonist Elijah’s investigation into an ancient murder. Perhaps the book was a bit too cerebral for me to latch onto, like how everything in a HHH match makes sense but isn’t necessarily exciting.
The art has a mid-century feel to it, not too far removed from a simplified Beetle Bailey as far as I can tell. I think the choice of paper, thicker and craft-like, was excellent and felt very organic—a nice juxtaposition with the cold futurism of the story itself.
what I wrote last June when I read this for the first time: There's something about deBonneval's line that I love. expressive yet compact & controlled. the story is intriguing, the concepts are fascinating, and things don't get bogged down.
re-read June 2014: still agree. love this book and I'm glad we're reading it for a book club so I can read it again and make other people read it. it's brimming with ideas but it has tender feelings too.
This graphic novel is a giant convoluted mess of ideas, which is interesting considering how hollow and unpolished the art looks. It often feels like you're being pummeled with hip tech-speak to compensate for the rather boring characters and inexplicable, unannounced leaps in setting between pages. Don't misread that. Last Days of an Immortal isn't surreal; it's just disorganized.
Reminiscent to me of some of Jack Vance's work, in theme, setting, and mood, Last Days of an Immortal places the reader in a world of humans become so alien as to be almost unrecognizable as humans to the reader, yet at the same time still exhibiting all the petty foibles that make us so human. In the end though, it's a story about letting go of life and accepting death.
This is one boring book if you don't read adult comicbooks with deep philosophical bent. The story is a good scifi what-if on immortality, having humans live hundreds/thousands of years and also intermingle with alien races. I recommend this book to some one with an open mind, it may not be your cup of tea, but given a chance it is well written.
There are countless works of fiction that envisage a distant future where humans live alongside myriad alien species in some kind of galaxy-spanning or intergalactic society – the most obvious example being Star Wars. However, in the vast majority of cases, the aliens are basically just funny-looking humans – often of broadly humanoid, bipedal appearance, and usually exhibiting essentially human psychologies. In some cases, an alien species might embody a specific range of human neurotypes – such as the aggressive and short-tempered Wookies or the hyper-rational Vulcans – or might correspond to a particular real-world culture – a civilization based on feudal Japan or on Viking marauders, for example – but rarely do they feel truly otherworldly.
The central premise of this comic is a multi-planetary federation where the constituent species all have radically different cultures, physiognomies and psychologies. Its protagonist, a member of the humans' "philosophical police", is responsible for identifying the causes of inter-species conflicts, disputes and misunderstandings. Further adding to the high-concept stew, humans in this setting are immortal, can duplicate themselves and can transform their bodies. All of this is to say that this comic is packed with great sci-fi ideas. It's a thoughtful and thought-provoking work that's full of ingenious and highly memorable concepts.
In terms of presenting and exploring cool concepts, this comic is very successful, and it’s worth reading on those grounds alone. On top of that, the artwork is subtly lovely and very atmospheric, especially thanks to the perfect pacing and deft visual storytelling. That said, the abundant great ideas are never quite turned into a compelling plot. The first two thirds of the comic are fairly meandering, with the protagonist dealing with various unrelated cases, and this works quite well, but the attempt to raise the stakes in the final third is a bit clumsy and doesn’t really land. I also never really connected with the characters. I didn’t have a strong sense of the protagonist’s personality: his defining trait seems to be his competence, and he just feels kind of hollow.
Despite its flaws, this is an excellent work of science fiction, throwing a load of great ideas out there and giving serious thought to their implications. Highly recommended to any fan of the genre.
Vehlmann se está convirtiendo en uno de mis autores favoritos, lo que parece irónico teniendo en cuenta que sólo le he dado tres estrellas a este cómic. Sin embargo, Vehlmann no se está convirtiendo en uno de mis autores favoritos porque siempre me guste lo que ofrece, sino porque, me acabe gustando o no, sus obras siempre me sorprenden por su audacia. En este caso nos encontramos con un a historia de ciencia ficción que bordea lo filosófico centrándose en la importancia de los recuerdos, el sentido de la vida y la dificultad de entendimiento entre culturas y formas de ver el mundo. Es precisamente eso lo que más me ha gustado de la historia, el trabajo como mediador del protagonista y su capacidad para entender, empatizar y negociar con todas las culturas y criaturas que se encuentra. Por suerte o por desgracia, el foco de la obra está no en ese trabajo (aunque se desarrolla bastante) sino en su crisis filosófica que a mí me vino un poco grande o no terminó de interesarme. De todas formas, una lectura que merece la pena.
It's not bad, but it's less a mystery and more of a philosophical blah blah blah about how different all alien species are or whatever. There's a major terrorist attack that happens 2/3 of the way through that has almost no impact on either the plot or the reader.
I'm also 100% done with people (men) including scenes of nude women in their sci-fi/fantasy/whatever graphic novels in an attempt to make people think the story is deeper or artsier than it really is.
It's fine! But it's not saying as much as it thinks.
Another try at a graphic novel, as recommended by my colleague who really likes the genre. While I really enjoyed Maus because the story was so real, this was an odd Sci-fi. It was fun and an easy read--took no time at all. The art was better than Maus. The story was decent and I liked the way it resolved. But, I think this story could have been better developed as a traditional novel. It's a good-enough premise to warrant a 300 page book. With this graphic format, one really has to read between the lines. I would have liked more help.
A little cerebral, the focus was on the philosophical journey of the mc rather than fitting that emotional arc into one plotline, which would have been more interesting to me. Twice the mc's brilliant solution is presented after the fact, diminishing the excitement of a murder mystery and a delicate cultural investigation in the hopes of preventing war. The character seemed deeply concerned for two other characters who it seems have a longstanding relationship with him yet treat him like crap.
An interesting science fiction story exploring the idea of immortality via identical genetic copies. There are also interesting notions of alien interactions and very foreign means of communication. The art is clear and crisp, not overly realistic nor overtly cartoony. Some food for thought and definitely a graphic novel for grown ups.
An enjoyable, quick read that feels very much like classic sci fi. At times it felt a little abrupt, and I'm not sure I understand Elijah's final choice, but I'd recommend it to my friends that enjoy sci fi and graphic novels.
The black and white pastel artwork is decent but doesn't stand out in my mind, the alien races are mentally bizarre and imaginative and the handling of the issues of potentially immortal humans interesting. It reminds me a bit of Jack Vance, a good read.
This is a great one-day read. Elijah is an unusual cop protagonist who is from a far off future. He and his “clones” take on cases and confer with each other, all the while trying to keep his relationship with his girlfriend fresh.
Characters can change their bodies, mc’s love interest has sex as a child and states she prefers it like that and prefers if her partners are children - so pedophilia but technically the people are adults but they still have the bodies of children
This was an extremely pleasant surprise. I absolutely loved the retro styling of the artwork - it reminded me very much of some of my favorite classic manga works (I saw a little early Rumiko Takahashi and a bit of Moto Hagio influence in there - wonder if I'm right or if it's just me). The story itself in an interesting exploration of life, death, individualism, culture and communication. Elijah, the lead character is a police officer - called a "philosopher" in this future world where humans have made contact with dozens, or possibly hundreds of alien species. When one being kills another, it's his job to determine if a crime really has been committed, or if (as is often the case) the death occurred because one party didn't understand the other party's customs or recognize their physical limitations. In order to work on his heavy case load Elijah, like many in his world, has created a series of "echoes." Clones who, while retaining Elija's memories and basic personality can work independently - making Elijah and most people in his world immortal. The only downside is that when Elijah needs to assimilate with any these echoes by absorbing them into his primary body and experience what they have experienced, he has to lose some of his oldest memories. It's not until one of his oldest and dearest friends decides to end his life abruptly and without explanation that Elijah begins to have problems with this process - he doesn't want to lose his last few memories of his friend. But when he is assigned the most difficult case of his career it seems he MUST lose these memories or risk starting an intergalactic war. The author manages to tell this story with just enough world building to keep the reader from getting bogged down - and throws in a little sex and a little silliness just for good measure. I especially enjoyed a scene in which Elijah, in an elaborate costume is forced to do a choreographed welcome dance with an alien race whose entire culture centers around extremely melodramatic play-acting. This is one I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.
Last Days of an Immortal is a transhumanist futuristic science fiction that followed Elijah's journey to solve the millenia old mystery to prevent a war and his search with the meaning of life in his immortality. The artwork is interesting, it does reminded me of the strokes from Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis, the intensity from Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaa and charicatures from Tin Tin. For a science fiction, the content of the book is extremely heavy with philosophy, violence, depression and occasional sex scene. It does carry an ethereal quality within which may interest genre specific readers.
Elijah reminded me of the character September from Fringe who is from the future and does travel into the past to change and observe for the future. The transhumanist philosophy which I identified from the novel does intrigue me but the characterization and character interactions is quite minimal to maintain the genre aloofness in the story.
The setting does reminded me of Dr Who's futuristic scenes and Aeon Flux pervasive foreignism within its identity. Unfortunately I didn't find myself attuned to the story as I should be since some parts can be quite predictable for me. The dialogues which I noticed seemed to carry some sort of distance that I can't seem to capture within myself.
Another problem that I face while reading this book was the fact that my ARC copy is disjointed in my Kindle. Probably because maybe the artwork is made bilingual since the words are weirdly extracted from the images. I will be downloading it in Digital Editions to see if the problem is fixed but for now my rating stands until my second rereading attempt to see if I received better experience how it was intended as a graphic novel.
The ARC is supplied by Archaia via Netgalley and the book will be published on 27th November 2012.
The best part of foreign language comics is that if something is garbage, no one will go through the trouble of translating it.
In my mind, immortality isn't a good thing. The have-nots will be harvested to provide raw material to the haves and inequality, already back to railroad baron-era levels, will get even worse. This book posits something different: immortality being so normal, so commonplace, that death is something so rare that it requires discussion in committee. In the future, the police serve mainly as conflict mediators, go-betweens who understand different philosophies. To save time, they split themselves up into "echoes", and re-unite into one person when it's time to share what they've learned. There's a tradeoff here: learning is so much quicker when done in parallel, but reunification tends to overwrite old memories.
This book follows a philospher-policeman, one of the best, as he handles murder, suicide, and terrorism. It's French, so of course nothing will make sense at first, but that's fine. What is the point of speculative fiction if not to show us how different things can be?
If you've never read euro comics before, then maybe you've watched the movie 7 Psychopaths? It was based on a miniseries by the author, Fabien Vehlmann. The two are nothing alike, a testament to his skill as a storyteller.
Gwen De Bonneval art's is dangerously understated. There's no question that the aliens are alien, but this is normal in the future, so hardly anyone remarks on it. It's a weird balance, and he pulls it off so well.
Bleeding Cool has the same preview pages that you'll find anywhere. Definitely check it out if you're looking for a glimpse of the future that isn't more of the same old boring same.
Sometimes things are best uncluttered. "Last Days of an Immortal" is a simple far flung future story where humankind can clone itself and whilst each individual has a primary body the clones (or echoes, which can also live individually and independently) are as back-up should the primary body fail. It's not an original idea, but it doesn't have to be. The plot follows two lines, that of Elijah's role as one of the Philosophical Police who has to appease two alien races potentially at war, but also his own anguish over a friend who has chosen to kill himself and let his echoes fade to nothing. Perhaps once you've achieved immortality, is there anything left to live for?
Whereas the two alien races exhibit seemingly opposite attributes open to misunderstanding and confusion, so do the twin 'wars' of human life and death. Whilst this graphic novel lingers awhile on these constructs, it doesn't labour them. The end result is an affecting story told with simple yet effective illustrations (deceptively simple perhaps, because flicking through this again there's more detail here than I thought - I tend to find this with graphic novels, the story pulls me through so the journey so intently that sometimes you forget to look out of the window).
Saw it in the library, picked it up because it seemed interesting.
This book throws you into the deep end of the universe. Technology has made it so that humanity can create "echoes", which are people split off from your personality. They act the same as you, so you can literally be in several places at once. If one of them is killed off, you can be restored from one of those echoes. The only cost is that if you create too many of them, you lose some of your early memories. Also, death is purely optional; people can live as long as they want and the only time people die is if they choose to.
Humanity has also joined the interstellar community with truly alien species. The main character is someone who is an expert in being able to understand the aliens and is the world's best alien diplomat, but is thrown off kilter when one of his friends does something that surprises him. The entire book kind of reminds me of Star Trek; the main character has a passing resemblance to Jean-Luc Picard (because he's bald) and he tries to resolve differences with diplomacy. Maybe this is why I liked it so much.
Following the footsteps of great sci-fi, this graphic novel asks interesting questions like how society will adapt to death no longer existing and why people would choose not to live. The aliens in the book are also imaginative and invoke memories of Star Trek aliens.