Songs for the Dead #3 (Necromancer Press)
We start these reviews off by talking about how necromancers get a bad rap. We do it because it’s thematically important to understand this comic and the driving force behind it, that of a necromancer trying to be good and reminding people that no school of magic is inherently evil, but people can be and magic gives people the ability to do evil on a much larger scale than they might otherwise be able to.
So, why single out necromancers among all magicians as being especially bad? Well, one answer might be that necromancy plays around with death – the one force that people never feel comfortable with and are afraid of because sooner or later, every single one of us is going to die.
Another might be that so much of western culture comes from various mistranslations of the Hebrew Bible, and that book calls out necromancy specifically as being bad (it also calls out soothsayers, but people like to know the future and consider that more of a game).
But let’s talk about that for a moment: the first biblical figure to go on an actual crusade against witches and necromancers and soothsayers was King Saul, who is generally not looked upon as either the smartest or kindest figures in the Old Testament. He’s kind of a dick, really, and when push comes to shove and his life starts falling apart because of his dickishness, he disguises himself and goes to a necromancer for aid.
Now, he lies to her about his identity and makes her raise the prophet Samuel, which she didn’t want to do and advises him against doing. There’s wisdom to her – she’s using her power responsibly, but Saul is a dick and he mangles himself badly because of his own actions, yet there’s still some blame that gets thrown on the necromancer who did nothing wrong.
And it’s relevant here because we have an order of religious nutjobs who move into a town and start torturing innocent people for no reason other than their religious dogma. They get people to turn on one another, using a necromancer themselves because they are – like all dogmatic zealots – hypocrites. In between mangling people for standing up to them or asking questions or doing anything other than waiting for their turn to be tortured, the actual necromancer moves back into town reminds these townfolk of their history.
She defeats the forces of ignorance and evil not with magic, but knowledge and reminding people of their inherent decency and history of standing up against tyranny.
Yes, it’s that kind of comic. You really should be reading this.
The deft wordplay and storytelling is all done by series creators Michael Christopher Heron and Andrea Fort, while cover art is done by Nick Robles and interior art is all Sam Beck. The whole package is a lot of fun and the trilogy has been a blast to read. If you’d like to give it a spin, you can head over Necromancer Press and check it out for yourself by clicking here.
It’s good times. You should do the thing.