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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Getting Reborn With Mark Millar

What happens when you die? Where does your spirit go? Is death the end of one journey, and the beginning of another? Or is this life all that there is? These are questions that everyone wonders about, and even the most scientific of authors, such as Arthur Conan Doyle, have wrestled with.

In his current series Reborn, comic writer Mark Millar addresses these issues. Through his eyes, we follow Bonnie, an old woman eking out her final moments of life in a hospital. When she dies, she reawakens in a fantasy land brimming with fairies, mythic monsters, and yes, even the occasional dragon. Bonnie discovers that she is no longer feeble and suffering from cancer. Instead she is young and energetic. Her youthful body is far stronger than in her former life, she clad in armor, and she wields a sword. Amid a battle, she reunites with her father, her dog, and begins a search for her husband, who journeyed to this fantastic land before her.

Not all who populate this realm live as soldiers. Some settle down and have families, while others enslave the weak and perpetuate their evil schemes. Still, the fact that monsters and evildoers inhabit this realm means that those who seek to live by the sweat of their brow, and in harmony with others, must occasionally band together to protect themselves, their families, and their villages. It may be the afterlife, but that doesn't mean that Bonnie has reached Heaven. This is a world like our own, in which evil exists alongside good, and often fights for supremacy.

Bonnie isn't just another new resident of this fantastic land. People see her as a great hero who has long been prophesied to rescue them once and for all from the forces of evil. While Bonnie never refuses to help others, she isn't interested in building an army and launching an all-out assault on evildoers. Her first priority is more personal: she wishes to find other members of her family on Earth. So she travels this new world with her father and a pet from her childhood, the latter a dog that, like she and her father, is far larger and stronger than he was on Earth. 

Issue 5 of Reborn was my favorite thus far, featuring some major revelations about her husband, and leading to the final confrontation in Issue 6. But it was also bittersweet, as only one issue remains in the current series. From all accounts, the series is selling well, so depending on what occurs in the final issue, it's possible that Millar will write a sequel series sometime in the future. He's done that before, with series like Kick-Ass and Jupiter's Legacy

Interestingly enough, a hardcover novelization by Sarah Lotz is due to hit bookstores later this year, so those who missed the comics will have a choice of purchasing all six issues in one volume, or purchasing a prose adaptation. Many of his stories also get adapted for the big screen, so there's always a potential movie version to hope for. Still, that's far and away, while Reborn is pulsing with vitality, and available to read now. 

In many ways, Reborn seems like an interesting series for Mark Millar to write, as he's a devout Catholic. Reading Reborn seems a little surreal when Millar posts on Facebook and Twitter about attending Mass more often during Lent, and giving up things during this holy season of the Christian calendar. But Reborn is all in good fun. At its core, the story reminds us that Life, in whatever form, is always a battle between good and evil. Just like Bonnie's, our lives should be quests in which we fight for what is right, aid those in need, and strive for the people and things that matter to us. 

Even if that means we too must battle the occasional dragon.

Dragon Dave

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