REVIEW: ‘The Many Deaths of Laila Starr,’ Issue #1

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The Many Deaths of Laila Starr

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 is the start of a new series from BOOM! Studios written by Ram V, art by Filipe Andrade, and letters by AndWorld Design. It’s the story of three simultaneous events: a baby being born, a woman falling to her death, and Death herself being fired from her job.

I love a good story that anthropomorphizes deities and tells their stories in unique ways. The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 is one such story. Envisioning a South Asian pantheon, this story follows Death as she finds out a mortal has been born who will one day invent immortality. She gets fired from her job and sent to live a mortal life in the body of the recently deceased Laila Starr.

The way the team both writes and draws the book’s deities as modern beings in a corporate setting is hilarious and very well-conceived. There’s a nice layer of comedy to the whole thing as it matter-of-factly presents its world. The narrative style told from third-person omnipotence until the very end is very enjoyable and often witty, just as much as Death’s dialogue is.

The art in this book is also stellar. It has a very light and airy style that matches the cover image of Laila falling to her death. The mostly blue and purple overtones add to the otherworldly and aloft tone. The art style alone is a big part of what has me captivated by the book. Additionally, the lettering is done in a cursive font that is sometimes a bit distracting but never hard to read and does compliment the character of the comic’s artistic direction.

I also appreciate that the story clearly takes place in or in the vicinity of India, but that the tale is universal. It’s great to see that the characters and setting are able to reflect the author’s experience without it having to be an “India” story. I’m sure that as the comic progresses there will be elements that are unique to the characters or setting, which will be equally great. But it’s nice that a new comic is able to take place somewhere not-Western and be about people who are distinctly not Western without the comic having to be all about the fact that they’re South Asian.

It’s not entirely clear where the story might go from here, but the end of the issue and the comic’s name gives the reader enough of an idea. As the first issue in a new series, I’m definitely hooked and definitely willing to continue experiencing the world and its characters, if not its story as well.

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 is a solid start to a new series. The way that the South Asian/Indian setting is incorporated into the story is very entertaining and appealing. The characters and world they have built are definitely captivating, though. I just hope the story finds ways to be surprising given the title and the first issue’s ending set up.

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1
4.5

TL;DR

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 is a solid start to a new series. The way that the South Asian/Indian setting is incorporated into the story is very entertaining and appealing. The characters and world they have built are definitely captivating, though. I just hope the story finds ways to be surprising given the title and the first issue’s ending set up.