The Underwater Welder
by Jeff Lemire
One year ago the name Jeff Lemire wasn’t one that was on my radar. I had heard good buzz about his book Sweet Tooth, but it wasn’t something that really grabbed me. All that changed with the coming of DC’s New 52 and his work writing Animal Man and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. I particularly enjoyed Animal Man, and it quickly became one of my most anticipated books every month. When I found out about The Underwater Welder, I decided that I would give it a try, and I’m glad I did.
The cover of the book really grabbed me. Jeff Lemire’s artwork throughout the book is great, he does a wonderful job of instilling the characters with emotion. But as I said, it was the cover, and just as much the title that drew me in. It seemed like such an odd concept for a book that I just had to check it out.
The Underwater Welder tells the story of Jack Joseph, who works on an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia. Jack is on the verge of becoming a father, and is struggling to deal with that and all it entails. Jack really begins looking back on the relationship he had with his father, who was a diver as well. As Jack continues to dive and deal with all these mounting pressures, some very odd things begin to happen underneath the surface of the water.
In his introduction, Damon Lindelof (co-creater and executive producer of LOST), calls The Underwater Welder the “most spectacular episode of The Twilight Zone that was never produced.” I have trouble coming up with a more apt description. At its core, it’s a story of a man clinging so hard to his past that he is unable to face his future, to the detriment of his life and his relationships. It is a story filled with great characters and great emotion. It is a story worth reading.