17672010Author: Si Spurrier, PJ Holden
Release Date: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Titan Comics
Source: Titan Books
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mysticism

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Spoilers:  High
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Usually I’m not all that into stories with overly religious connotations. When angels were introduced to Supernatural I stopped watching for a while because I thought nothing good could really come from it. (Obviously, I was wrong.) So i was a little uncertain going into this book. I’m not overly religious but, you know, we grow up being told that you don’t talk about religion and politics so. It’s always a bit uncertain for me. I will say, though, Numbercruncher? It’s one hell of a story.

So the basic premise behind this story is that everything we do right and wrong gets us karma points and those are  divided up and input into some great divine calculator that at the end of our lives essentially determines our worth. It’s all calculated by the Divine Calculator – essentially our stand in for God. This is the way things go; the karmic agents go around keeping things in balance and occasionally making deals with the living and the universe moves on. But one brilliant mathematician catches wind of the Divine Calculator’s operations and he disapproves. Dying himself, he makes a deal to swap places with a surly karmic agent named Bastard Zane (the names in this book leave something to be desired) so long as he can be reincarnated remember his past life so he might be able to reunite with his lover in the next.

It doesn’t turn out to be that easy, though. Reincarnated at the wrong time halfway across the world in a Mumbai slum, the mathematician finds himself in a race against divine forces to beat the Divine Calculator at his own game. He’s insanely in love and driven solely by a desire to be with the woman he loves. It doesn’t matter how many reincarnations it takes. It doesn’t matter how short they may be as the Bastard Zane hunts him down in order to drag him back to the afterlife.

It’s an interesting story to be sure. It seems like it’s a story about love and I suppose it is but at the same time… you have to think that if the mathematician really loved this girl he’d let her be. Instead he comes into her life a million different ways at a million different times and is often torn from her violently time and time again. You can only do that so much before you ruin someone’s life, you know? Numbercruncher was god but it was also frustrating. I hated what the mathmetician did to the woman he loved. Even though it was interesting to see how he got one over on the Divine Calculator I just sort of wished he had really understood what he was doing in the grander scheme of things.

I guess at the end he did but still. It was sad.

The best part of the book, though, wasn’t necessarily the story. It was the artwork. The book stuck with a very particular theme – the reincarnations were in color, the spiritual world was not. Bastard Zane was always in black and white (except on the covers) meanwhile the mathematician was almost always in color. He only reverted to black and white when dragged out of his new bodies into the spirit realm once again. It was an interesting dynamic. God and Heaven and the whole cosmic calculation in this book was all black and white. Good deeds got you positive points in the karmic ledger, bad deeds got you negative points. It was always black and white and I thought that was a very good way of using the colorization to help tell the story and set the tone.

It just added to an already great looking book.

Final Thoughts:
Worthwhile read, good story, great artwork. If you get a chance to read it you should take it.

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