Death, or Didi, is an off-kilter teenaged girl who gets to be mortal one day a century. She befriends a depressed young guy with the unfortunate name of Sexton. A very old madwoman seeks Death’s help in finding her heart. And a blind, creepy guy wants Death’s sigil.
And by the end, it’s all remarkably uplifting.
“It always ends. That’s what gives it value.”
Though this is a Sandman spinoff, Death: The High Cost of Living stands entirely on its own. I can’t say for certain, but it might even be more effective without prior knowledge. There’s almost nothing in these three issues that’s blatantly supernatural. The fantasy elements exist entirely on the periphery, which you hardly even realize until after the fact because everything feels so magical. If you read just this story, you might almost believe that Didi is merely a troubled girl who has retreated into the delusion that she’s Death.
An excellent read from the early days of DC’s Vertigo imprint.
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Chris Bachalo and Mark Buckingham
Cover: Dave McKean
Publisher: DC Comics (Vertigo)
How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; Death: The High Cost of Living (TPB)
Appropriate For: ADULTS ONLY