Set in a post-rapture world, Bram and Ben find themselves left behind with nothing to do but continue their lives. Finding out he was kept out of heaven due to a “clerical error”, Bram makes it his mission to cause trouble and have fun doing all the things he was kept out of heaven for. Ben on the other hand is more content to continue his life as an elementary school teacher, enamored by his co-worker Laura.
Things in the lives of Bram and Ben pick up however when a mustachioed survivalist named Tipul introduces himself by way of breaking and entering. The three begin to plan for surviving the “End Times”, all the while Ben being pressured by Tipul into a survivalist mentality and egged on by Bram to seek out and satisfy his baser natures in general tomfoolery. Meanwhile, mysteries loom. Who’s this devil-looking character in a trench coat? Who’s this angel in disguise? Will Ben ever get laid?
Another comic born of Kickstarter, End Times is the kind of project I wish would get produced more often. Delightfully quirky, the comic presents funny yet somewhat thoughtful content without taking itself seriously in the slightest. It’s content that rides a fine line and gets so much right where so many other comics don’t. One of the biggest things I harp on in issue #1’s is pacing, though in this case, End Times nails it. Exposition isn’t rushed or labored, and we get so much information about the characters subtly from dialogue that after a few pages, the reader really feels like they know these characters. And while this section may feel like a review of the function or mechanics of the comic, this kind of time and work put into pacing is invaluable and works magic for the comic as a whole.
Co-created and written by James Asmus (Gambit, Thief of Thieves) and actor/comedian Jim Festante, it’s almost no wonder End Times has great story form and more than a solid foundation in comedy. Characters talk with a snarky realism one might encounter on a daily basis; Bram pointing to a pile of cloths from a raptured individual and casually stating, “Hey. Free Stuff.” Rapture mythos is also handled in a very interesting way, a kind of comically sacrilegious fashion that lends itself easily to jokes and builds the world of End Times matching the story’s oddball nature.
Ben plays foil to Bram’s outrageous behavior very well and is reminiscent of kinds of roommate relationships that some people don’t wish to relive. The type of relationship is an oldie but a goody, Ben keeping Bram grounded while Bram gets Ben out of his box.
Art by for End Times done by co-creator Rem Broo does not fail to amaze. The illustrations match the story’s buddy comedy vibe with absurdly expressive characters, a fantastic level of detail, and a style that really communicates the emotions of the characters; Ben’s franticness at the end times and Tipul’s emphatic nature when he tells a story. Character design is also incredible. Characters are so distinctive in appearance and unique in expression that they really come alive.
I honestly hadn’t heard much about this comic and picked it up more out of curiosity than anything else. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised and plan to follow this series to its four-issue conclusion. Not a huge commitment, but hey, what better reason than brevity to get invested in this? Along with awesome writing and excellent artwork, issues of End Times also follow the format of most current Image comics by being thicker and ad-free. Basically I’m trying to convince you to read this comic… and I should have succeeded by… now.