Parting Ways

    (Speakeasy, 2005)
™ and ©2005 Andrew Foley and Scott Mooney

Peter Orbach’s botched suicide got him tangled up in a corporate numbers game. Such is the (after)life when a population boom has forced Hell’s masters to institute a bureaucracy to handle the enormous influx of souls. In Parting Ways, writer Andrew Foley’s Hell is the place where you go when you die for “rehabilitation” before you get reincarnated, or as they say in Hell, recycled. In turns out suicide gets you a twenty year stint.

As a melty-faced demon named Hissrich explains to Peter on the Soul Train ride to Hell, “The way things are going in the world, it’s going to be impossible for even the purest of souls to survive without accepting at least the minimum wages of sin.” So with pretty much everyone doing at least some time in Hell these days, it’s no surprise the staff feels burned out and the higher-ups have outsourced key duties to harried subcontractors.

Months after countless hands of gin rummy interspersed with sporadic episodes of torture and evisceration at the claws of a jaded harpy, Peter learns his wife managed to revive his soulless body after the overworked “collections agent” prematurely escorted Peter’s soul to the afterlife. During the intervening months, Peter gains new insight into the phrase “corporate hell,” while back among the living, life with Peter’s soulless doppelganger rejuvenates his wife’s flagging art career.

Much more than a mere satire of corporate life and urban anomie, Parting Ways expands on many levels as the philosophical scope of Death’s error comes into focus. Can you really change the world by changing yourself? Is it morally right to do good just to avoid punishment? What role does suffering play in the creation of art? Packed with subtle humor and visual nuance by illustrators Scott Mooney and Nick Craine and populated by plethora of deftly fleshed out characters in writer Foley’s “first major comics work”, Parting Ways unfurls delightedly over 147 black and white pages in this brilliant, irresistible book.

— Leland Burrill

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 Andrew FoleyScott Mooney