Ashes is a quick, honest and straightforward read. It didn’t offer too many surprises with the plot, but the characters and relationships elevate it from being average. To put it another way, it’s a very realistic and human journey that our main character is on. We follow Matt, he’s a legacy firefighter meaning he comes from a family of firefighters. We open with a rescue of some little kids, but he and his partner/friend decide not to wait for the ladder to come back up and instead take the fire escape. There’s a bit of foreshadowing here as he catches his ankle on the fire escape.
From there we’re introduced to his life. He’s divorced, has a kid, loves his mom and pretty much hates his father. His father is way higher up on the firefighter ladder and is constantly telling him not to overdo it on rescues and that he needs to think of his own safety as well. If you’re not seeing it, something bad is about to happen to Matt.
I won’t say what it is, but he’s forced to take a desk job and begins to hate life. Like he’s lazy and mean to his friends and family. In particular, he lashes out at his father a lot. I didn’t get the impression that his dad deserved all of it, but hey what son doesn’t blame their dad for a certain amount of their failures? Don’t work with your parents kids, that’s rule number one.
The art is what got me and kept me. It’s in all black and white which seemed like an odd choice at first. I mean it’s about a firefighter and there’s going to be fires. You’d think that colored pages would be the obvious choice, but they’re not. I think that’s because it’s a rich character journey for Matt who doesn’t spend the entire book chasing fires, but rather figuring out how to live life. The art is detailed, but with a style that fits the story. There is also a balance of contrast between the black and white.
There’s a lot about this story that’s niche, but I think if you just like character stories then this one is worth checking out. I mean, I don’t live in New York, I’m not a firefighter or related to one and yet I was able to enjoy the book so give it a shot yourself.
Ashes – A Firefighter’s Story Writer: Mario Candelaria Artist: Karl Slominski Publisher: Z2 Comics Price: $19.99 Release Date: 11/11/15 Format: OGN; Print