Review: Jeff Lemire’s ‘The Underwater Welder’

Jeff Lemire

Jeff Lemire has made the transition from critical darling on the independent scene to one of the top writers leading the pack of DC’s New 52. Very few writers can make that transition from the Indie world to mainstream superheroes, but Lemire consistently turns out top notch writing, “Animal Man” and “Justice League Dark” being two of the best things DC is publishing today.

Despite having some of the biggest success of his comic book career at DC Comics, Lemire has remained committed to producing creator owned work. Lemire continues to write and draw “Sweet Tooth”, his long running Vertigo series, as it builds towards its epic conclusion in the coming months. Recently Lemire brought Matt Kindt on board for a three issue stint on “Sweet Tooth” to handle the art duties while he concentrated on finishing his new original graphic novel The Underwater Welder. “The Underwater Welder” is perhaps Lemire’s best work to date with stunning artwork and masterful storytelling. I smell awards coming his way.

WRITTEN BY: Jeff Lemire
ART BY: Jeff Lemire
PUBLISHER: Top Shelf
RELEASE: Out now

“The Underwater Welder” follows Jack, an off shore welder who is days away from the birth of his first child. Jack is overcome with a tidal wave of emotions with a new child on the way and is forced to confront the skeletons in his closet, along with the mysterious death of his own alcoholic father. Jack struggles to come to terms with his Dad’s passing and the resentment he feels for growing up without a father. While Jack struggles to confront his past, his own family begins to tear about at the seams as he walks a tight rope between happiness and repeating his own father’s mistakes.

Jeff Lemire is a master at conveying personal conflict and emotion, and “The Underwater Welder” is a perfect example of his abilities. The story is completely character driven and Lemire’s artwork perfectly complements that with a simplistic approach that focuses on conveying the character’s thoughts and feelings in each panel. Through the use of his distinctive black and white style, Lemire builds the story with calculated use of panel layouts that build up to some of gorgeous splash pages that leave a jaw-dropping impact on the reader.

“The Underwater Welder” is one of the most heartfelt and emotionally gripping stories you will read this year. Lemire created this graphic novel as a means to tell a powerful literary work and it is a shining example of what medium is capable of. Closing the final pages of this book, it is apparent that Lemire has just pulled on reader’s heartstrings, and left them with a beautiful and moving story about life, love, and fatherhood.

4.5/5 Skulls