Bodies follows four different time periods, but all with the same problem. During a time of great crisis, a strangely decayed body shows up from seemingly nowhere and sets off chaos. One case occurs during Jack the Ripper’s time, another during World War 2, another during modern times, and with a final occurring somewhere in the future. While there are four bodies, there is a chance they are all the same person and he might not be as dead as expected. Edmond Hillinghead is hiding a deep secret regarding his sexuality as he works to solve a murder no one seems to care about, just after the Jack the Ripper case has lost steam. Karl Whiteman is hated for his Jewish heritage during World War 2, and hides the secret of just whom he killed to get out of his Nazi-occupied home alive. 2014’s Detective Sergeant Shahara Hasan works to solve the case of a discovered body, even as she and her people are blamed for the murder. In 2050 Maplewood struggles with amnesia and may hold the keys to unraveling the whole mystery.
Si Spencer is not going to let you off easy with Bodies. If you aren’t paying attention to each story, you will miss key clues that eventually drive the plot as a whole. Four separate artists also worked on this series, and it absolutely shows. Dean Ormston, Phil Winslade, Meghan Hetrick and Tula Lotay were all given the challenge of creating a particular time period, but making sure that the mysterious body remained the same in all incarnations
One of the most themes in Bodies discusses what it means to be a citizen of the country you live in. Shahara Hasan is a gorgeous female British Detective Sergeant who also happens to be a practicing Muslim. Though she wears her headscarf out of respect, she also lives the life of any normal British woman and is furious when she is told that her faith means she’s a terrorist in the eyes of the many British citizens. They set her apart and claim she can’t truly be a citizen of the country who raised her because of her faith. She strongly disagrees and it makes for powerful reading. Karl Whiteman struggles with feeling out of place. As a Jew who fled the Nazi’s, he finds no love amidst the Irish, and he is happy to show the same disrespect. Edmond Hillinghead fights with his sexuality while trying desperately to find absolution in his work Maplewood is just…empty. She seems completely lost and childlike in the new post-apocalyptic world and is easily entertained by pretty much everything.
Bodies, like so many Vertigo properties, is violent, complicated and visually stunning, but certainly not for more sensitive readers.
Bodies collects issues #1-8 of the mini series. It is available from Vertigo Comics now.