Review – The Many Deaths Of Laila Starr #2
Written By: Ram V
Artwork: Filipe Andrade
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Available: May 2021
Chapter 2 – The Knowledge of Crows
Eight years after her second death, Laila Starr (kind of) is back on her feet, thanks to the God of Life, Pranah. In her absence, the newborn she wanted to kill but could not have grown into a healthy, sweet-natured eight years old and, well, the world has just kept turning. Now she must adjust to her new situation, thankfully with the assistance of a funeral crow. Meanwhile, Darius is too young to understand injustice, oppression, loss. But unfortunately, even a child who will one day put an end to Death must confront it first.
Also if you’re wondering what a funeral crow is, well, read it and find out…
Laila awakens from the last issue’s latest death, she encounters a crow and during the conversation (OK I wrote that) they debate the difference between immortal divinity and mortal love. This existential question is told through narration by Kah, a funeral crow (used in some funerals in Mumbai to carry the soul to Laila’s old department in return for an offering of rice)
Meanwhile, eight-year-old Darius must face the death of his childhood friend Bardhan. Bardhan is a gardener for Darius’ family but they see him as nothing, Darious however, with no class or bias, spends time with him. As he hears of the death and the ambivalent attitude of his parents runs away to the funeral where he bumps into Laila.
Ram V’s writing is wry, balanced but strangely beautiful. He’s able to make you fall in love with characters with a few words, limited narration and no major plot developments. This is storytelling at its most intimate with small groups of actors impacted by small actions, but having a large impact. As a reader, you emote with them, you struggle with them and if you as with life you grieve when they are impacted by death. I have a feeling that Darius is going to bump into Laila next issue as a teenager, perhaps they will fall in love?
Filipe Andrade’s artwork – how do you describe something unique, fresh and perfectly suited to the writer? It’s obvious that Andrade’s work is stylised by Ines Amaro’s pink and purple pastels, relaxing you as slowly immerse into the many panels and pages he expertly crafts. Where Laila is fighting fate the panels are slightly chaotic in size and appearance but the young Darius’s are gently gliding through his tall, thin panels told from an eight-year old’s point of view.
There must have been some dust in the room when I read this, as for some weird reason my eyes were wet at the end of the book. This is a love letter to life and death, and for all those impacted by the tragic events of COVID its cathartic view shows hope. I would use exclamation points but the big editor at BGCP has banned me from using them. Another clean sweep for the writer and artist with full marks all the way.. can they keep it up next month?
If you enjoyed our review of The Many Deaths Of Laila Starr #2 then leave a comment or rating. thanks to Boom! Studios for another free preview issue.
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