Release Date: September 2011
Writer: Chad Michael Murray
Art: Danijel Zezelj, Robbi Rodriguez, Andrew Huerta, J.K. (James Kenneth) Woodward, Trevor Hairsine
Letters: Dave Lanphear
Designer: Sean Dove
Editors: Stephen Christy, Rebecca Taylor
Production Manager: Scott Newman
Publisher: Archaia Comics
Chad Michael Murray’s graphic novel writing debut has finally hit the shelves. With a tortured hero and an apocalyptic storyline, the universe he created has exceeded even my wildest dreams. Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve been waiting for this one ever since CMM announced he was writing it way back when. But finally, after a couple of printing deadline delays, fans of the genre and the actor can bask in the joy that is Everlast.
The book is illustrated by four different artists, meant to portray the world through four different character viewpoints. It’s an interesting approach to take and one that seems to work fairly well. Derek’s view of the world starts us off, dark and dingy and seemingly hopeless. He’s driven by the Nudge to select the chosen souls that will last through the End of Days. You can feel his burden, the weight of the knowledge that he can’t save everyone, but he can try to save the few that has been deemed worthy. I love his moral conflict and his character overall. And I like his and Stavros’s building tension. They’re family, but they’re on opposite sides of the equation now.
When we meet Melissa, Derek’s last save, we switch to her visual perspective. It’s a bit more animated than Derek’s perspective, but it’s still got the tinge of darkness and despair about it. The world is crumbling around her and you can feel her fear through the page. Of all the visual representations, I think I like hers best. I also like the idea that the evil that lurks in the darkness can only be seen by pure souls. There’s bad things out there, but most people don’t know it. It’s the burden of these chosen, a burden that they have to bear alone.
The next visual transition was a bit rough. I knew we switched out of Melissa’s view of the world, but were we back in Derek’s or had we moved on to another? The brief, harsh viewpoint that we got during the fight was confusing and then we switched to the viewpoint we’ve seen prior in the flashback. I understand that the softer styling was meant to convey a world that was simpler and held more happiness, but I’m still lingering over the prior fight’s perspective too much to concentrate. However, the brief trip down memory lane was soon turned to ugliness.
The view Stavros has on the world is perhaps similar to Derek’s. It’s rough lines and hard edges, it’s destruction and despair. He’s lost just as much in this fight as Derek, yet they’re both locked into the battle because of who they are. However, his was the story I understood the least. He’s walked away from his destiny because he wants to keep the world turning rather than condemning it to destruction, as he sees Derek doing? Or is he actually hastening the end with his actions? Is he good for the wrong reasons or is he bad with seemingly good intentions? I’m still at a loss.
We end the book in our last perspective, that of Naomi’s. Her viewpoint is filled with watercolors and delicate lines that turns the harshness of the world around her into something beautiful. Though it’s more like she’s seeing the beauty of everlasting life since they have all emerged in front of the gates of Heaven. But even in the midst of the battle that ensues, she keeps that visual perspective and we see that the harshness of the world isn’t so bad if we keep our eyes on what the reward might be.
In the end, I don’t feel like we accomplished everything the narrative set in motion, but maybe that’s the reality of this world. Melissa was saved, the clock to the end of the world was started, and Derek was offered eternal peace, but instead he turned it down and went to search for others who might be saved. Perhaps that was the point all along. Derek can save the few, but there will always be others out there needing him. Whether he takes the path Stavros is on or whether he maintains his destiny as planned, he’s never going to have peace until everyone’s saved, yet that’s an impossible goal. It’s a world of despair, but it’s one Derek Everlast will continue to live in until the world is no more.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars