It feels like every other year is supposed to be the end of the world. Or at least that’s what some “prophets” would have us believe. Most of the time though, they’re of the mind that not everyone will burn in hell come the end of days but that they’ll be a chosen few who are selected for some greater purpose. And yes, people buy into that thinking more than you’d think but where would your mind go if a stranger told you you were one of the chosen? Like most of the people in Everlast, you’d probably think they were crazy.
Published by Archaia, Everlast was written by television/film actor Chad Michael Murray and hosts a rotating lineup of artists. The story revolves around a man named Derek Everlast, a soldier of sorts, tasked with saving only a select few members of humanity. He himself was chosen for this particular role, which shares at least a few similarities with those being saved. Following his superpower, which is really more of an instinct called the Nudge, given to him by some higher authority, he travels the world looking for them. Their exact purpose? It’s kept purposely vague but as far as the main character sees it, he’s taking them to a place called Haven where they will eventually go on to restart humanity once everyone else has been wiped out.
Of course the task set before him is not an easy one and there are forces at work that are trying to prevent the chosen ones from being found. Otherworldly creatures that can only be seen by Everlast, other soldiers like him and, eventually, the chosen ones, run rampant. But yes, Everlast isn’t the only “soldier” in this “war,” although he seems to have a special calling for it. His task laid out in this graphic novel is to get a very young chosen one, Melissa, to Haven and the many obstacles that are put in their way.
As far as the story goes, I will say it’s a very interesting concept, one that Murray told us at New York Comic Con originated after a meeting with a door-to-door Haven-like preacher. The idea of not only the coming apocalypse but following someone whose job it is to gather the only ones meant to survive is certainly dynamic. Although Everlast is one complete story it is absolutely the start of something bigger whether that be what came before this story or after it because although we’re told what’s happening, a lot of questions are left unanswered by the end of the book. Although I’m normally against everything having to be an origin story for the sake of the audience, in this case I think it would have helped if it had been more of one. It’s definitely a beginning but it feels like an end at the same time though you there’s much more story to tell.Murray does well for his first foray into writing although there are a few awkward moments of dialogue and plotting. For instance, one character, a civilian, is suddenly side-by-side with Everlast firing machineguns just like she were a trained soldier. Seeing as how she’s actually a bartender, this seemed like an odd leap of faith for the reader to make. I wish the story had delved deeper into Everlast himself. I want to know more about him, how he found himself in this position and what kind of man he was before. We see a few glimpses of that but not enough for my taste.
Besides the main story, Murray also wrote two short stories to go along with his graphic novel. One, titled “Flight of the Cormorant,” is available free to download on Murray’s website. The other, “Phoenix,” is included in the book but also available to read on the site. They’re side tales of other individuals Everlast has been Nudged to save and they both have unique life stories to be told. They may not be as action packed or dramatic as the main story but they have a lot of heart and show us that Everlast leads a very complicated life.
Trevor Hairsine, Andrew Huerta, Robbi Rodriguez, J.K. Woodward and Danijel Zezelj are the artists who were given different sections of the book to leave their mark on. The artists’ particular section is the world through the eyes of a different character, plus another for flashbacks, although the focus never really leaves Everlast. Their styles aren’t too different that it would be jarring for the reader but they of course have their distinct looks and use the inspiration for which character the scenes are playing out for considerably well. The only issues I took with the art were the times when it seemed artists were perhaps not given clear ideas of what characters were meant to look like. Most of the time, one of the characters was blonde but turned up in another part of the book with much darker hair and it took me a few minutes to figure out it was the same person. Along those lines, there were times when I confused Everlast with his nemesis in the book and vice versa as they looked a great deal alike.
Overall, Everlast was an interesting tale that I’m looking forward to learning more about. I’d definitely give the free short stories a shot if it sounds like something you’d like. Murray said he worked on this story for about eight years, let’s hope he can churn out his follow up sooner rather than later. I want to know who winds up in Haven.
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