An obscure hack writer named Manny Chanchu, best known for his investigations into strange cults, is tapped by an immortal being named Saint Germaine to write Germaine’s life story. Saint Germaine has become jaded and tired of the modern world, in part because he has become separated from his longtime immortal partner, Lilith. As Chanchu and Germaine get to know each other better, Chanchu finds himself changed dramatically by the experience. What had at one time been an interesting lark becomes an exploration into the motivations that live deep in his soul. Because both Germaine and Lilith absorb people’s souls, Chanchu finds himself affected by proxy. The complexity and corruption of Germaine and Lilith begins to infect his soul, and has shattering consequences for him.
Saint Germaine: Shadows Fall is an interesting philosophical work in comics form. Readers see the toll that immortality takes on the characters, and get a feeling for the things that can obsess people over their long lives. The downside to this philosophy is that the book is often a bit obscure. For instance, there’s a confrontation between Chanchu and shadow creatures created by Lilith that’s very confusing until it comes up a second time. Reed’s book is more about the thought and the action, and that’s both strength and a weakness.
The best parts of the book involve the characters contemplating their lives. There’s a haunting scene about halfway through the book where Lilith talks about the burning of Leningrad during the Nazi attack on the city that’s reminiscent of the best of Neil Gaiman. There are also a series of scenes depicting suicides at the beginning of the book, which are poignant and fascinating.
Vince Locke’s art is wonderfully realistic and thoughtful. His artwork is ideal for a project like this, since it’s very grounded in reality and shows real passion for the characters it depicts. I especially like the way he draws Chanchu as a man down on his luck, worn down by his pervious life experiences and by the story he works on with Germaine.
This is a really interesting and thoughtful comic. It’s too bad that the action scenes are so obscure; if Reed had paid just a bit more attention to them, this would have been a great comic.