Written By: Don Juan Manchez III
Illustrated By: Anubisazp
Purgatory is an unusual take on life-after-death and the consequences – or lack thereof – that come with it. Rather than a Dantesque Hell, limbo is depicted as tremendously mundane, a place plagued with the same issues as day-to-day existence. There is no celestial accounting for poor choices other than an eternity doomed to the repetition of them.
A sense of ennui permeates the comic’s depiction of limbo with the protagonist Ryan passively shuffling through his routine until he stumbles upon what appears to be a crime. Since the plot adheres to Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, this is the event that kicks the story into high gear.
Unlike many webcomics, the writing here is solid, the characters well fleshed-out and Don Juan Manchez III manages to bring nuance and complexity to an every-man protagonist thrown into an impossible situation. The dialogue is well-crafted with a number of memorable lines.The artwork is stark, an aesthetic that suits the themes and story line although it has a very “indie” feel that is not for everyone. If I have one small quibble, it’s that the comic could have benefited from more establishing shots to set up changes between scenes. Since the backgrounds are minimalistic, those unfamiliar with comics might battle to follow sudden transitions between locations.
Overall, Purgatory is an exciting read with an appealing visual style and Don Juan Manchez III is definitely a talent to watch.