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Comic Book / Afterlift

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Afterlift is a 2020 digital comic book by Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo, originally published online by Comixology Originals and then in a physical edition by Dark Horse Comics.

Janice Chen is a driver for a variety of ride-share apps, so when she gets a new passenger named Dumu, she thinks she knows exactly where to go. That is, until he picks up someone else, who turns out to be the recently deceased soul of a woman named Suzanna, and the place he needs her to go is Purgatory, where Suzanna will cross over into the afterlife. You see, in order to pick up a soul, you need a still living person to drive — it used to be horse and chariot, but now, well, Dumu is moving with the times.

Except a fresh soul in Purgatory means blood in the water and more demons are after them to capture Suzanna. Yes, more — because Dumu isn't really an angel and the afterlife he's taking Suzanna isn't heaven.

And now Janice Chen is in for a hell of a ride.

Tropes in Afterlift:

  • Affably Evil: Dumu starts off the story as pretty nice, even after he's revealed to be a demon. It's only when Janice takes Suzanna away that he shows just how evil he can be.
  • Angsty Surviving Twin: Janice used to have an older sister named May, but she died from a lung condition. Janice has been haunted by what her actions during that time ever since.
  • Appeal to Obscurity: How Dumu describes Gornaux:
    Dumu: Janice...listen to me very carefully. That is Gornaux the Grievous, slayer of all of Grenroveria.
    Janice: Wh-what's "Grenroveria"?
    Dumu: Exactly.
  • Big Red Devil: How Lucifer shows up, although he can also change his size and appearance.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Suzanna cannot forgive herself for her brother's death, so she can't enter Heaven, but Janice helps her to realize that she can leave her memories behind and be reincarnated. For Janice, however, she cut her silver cord, killing herself, so can't return home, but God tells her that she has a larger purpose of leading people to Heaven. The book ends with Janice's father in Purgatory and Janice showing up with angel wings to help lead him out.
  • Car Fu: Since Janice's car is now a "chariot of Hermes," it cannot be damaged. So Janice can just run over any obstacle in her path — and also drive up the side of buildings.
  • Cool Sword: Twyzel's angelic sword can cut through most anything...except for another angel sword, which the demonm Zeniakra just happens to have.
  • Gambit Pileup: Dumu wants to present a "pure soul" for Lord Lucifer. His fellow demons want the same soul for themselves. Lucifer just wants to see the demons tear each other apart. And Janice wants to make sure Suzanna gets into heaven.
  • Heaven: It turns out that Heaven not only exists, but all Heavens exist — it's an amalgamation of every single religion's Heaven/afterlife. So if you believe in Fluffy Cloud Heaven, that's where you go. If you believe in reincarnation, that's also what will happen to you.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Both Twyzel and Lucifer used to be angels. Lucifer, of course, fell from heaven for rebelling, but Twyzel decided to abstain, since his lover was part of the rebellion, and instead found himself in Purgatory. He finds himself able to go back to Heaven in the end.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Just like Heaven seems to be an amalgamation of every Heaven, so does Hell seem to be populated by a variety of different religion's demons. Lucifer looks like the "traditional" demon, but Zeniakra and her crew look like Indonesian demons.
  • Purgatory and Limbo: Janice has to drive through Purgatory to get Suzanna to Charon, who guides her to the afterlife. However, it turns out that Purgatory is also populated by creatures looking to tear Janice apart...and by Twyzel the Lost, a former angel.
  • Reincarnation: After Janice's sister died, her father got involved deeply in a Christian church, since he wanted to believe his daughter still existed somewhere as herself rather than be reincarnated as someone else. In the end, Suzanna lets go of her memories and is reincarnated.
  • Satan: Dumu is trying to prove his worth by giving a "pure soul" to Lucifer. When Lucifer does show up, however, he is displeased with him...because he hates demons and wants them all to tear each other apart. He hates humans, too, so is perfectly willing to see Janice killed and Suzanna stuck in Hell.