The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #5 concludes Ram V.’s utterly immaculate series about the goddess of death who was set to live among the mortal. With art by Filipe Andrade and letters by AndWorld Design, this BOOM! Studios published series is masterful. There are no other ways to describe it besides more synonymous superlatives.
When death was sent to live out her days as Laila Starr, a selfish mortal not too dissimilar to herself, she thought she know what her time on Earth would be about—as did we the readers all. She was going to kill Darius Shah, the future inventor of immortality before he could do so. This would get her job back, since she was only fired because death would no longer be in high demand with immortality in the picture. But that’s certainly not how things proceeded. And it’s most certainly not how things end. Where each prior issue saw Laila meet Darius during a different moment in his life that inserted with death, this issue is no different, but also entirely different. And it’s here that any expectations you may have had about the bonded pair’s final meeting crumble.
I am a supreme death-phobe. I fear the death of loved ones almost constantly. Always have. Perhaps always will. Who knows what I would do to capture immortality if I could. The Many Deaths of Laila Starr is a series for those who fear death the most. Because where every issue before had me in tears over losses and reflections on lives lived, this final issue had me, even if just briefly, willing to accept death’s inevitability and perhaps, even its beauty.
What The Many Deaths of Laila Starr did so remarkably, besides tell its story constantly through creative narrative vehicles and poetic scripts, was that it constantly made death beautiful. It did this by verbalizing what death is in sweet and comforting words. It also did it by illustrating the bodies of the departed among beautiful flowers and water and loved ones. And to be clear, this is beauty. Not the romanticization or fetishization of death, but something pure and simple and immutable. And try as Laila did to bend death to her will, its life that always found a way. Even in death.
It’s okay to be sad at death. It’s okay to mourn. It’s even okay to fight to prevent death’s inevitability, for a time. But with The Many Deaths of Laila Starr’s surprising but entirely unsurprising conclusion, you might be just a little bit more ready to let go. I cried in a soccer stadium over this series. I cried in the grocery store. In my apartment, alone. What this series says is that mourning can take countless shapes and each of them is as valid as the next because it is yours. And in the end, when death comes for us too, hopefully some of that spirit can pass its way on to those who mourn us too.
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #5 is a perfect ending to an immaculate series. Nothing more can or should be said. You should simply experience it for yourself.
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #5 is available wherever comics are sold.
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #5
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #5 is a perfect ending to an immaculate series.