GRAPHIC NOVELS

The Death of the Master

Koyama. Oct. 2019. 224p. ISBN 9781927668719. pap. $19.95. Rated: Teen+. f
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Over the course of the five pages that begin this book, seemingly abstract images resolve into a bizarre assembly line in a factory filled with strange characters resembling a cross between a brontosaurus and an ostrich. The announcement that their enigmatic leader, the Master, has fallen ill causes unrest across the factory; when the Master then dies, the entire world is seemingly thrown into disarray. Kyle (Roaming Foliage) brilliantly satirizes various aspects of modern life in the ensuing series of vignettes. The Master’s assistant Sarah struggles with a sense of loss and difficulty fulfilling the Master’s nonsensical last wishes, which include being buried midair. A group of children are taught that the moral of a story about a flying snail is that the Master is all-powerful. A group of mourners debate if the Master faked his death as a test or a prank, and whether to believe a rumor that the Master has been spotted strolling through a pumpkin patch.
VERDICT Kyle’s odd pacing and deadpan sense of humor work together to highlight the absurdity of this off-kilter and occasionally achingly familiar world.

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