cover image Heaven No Hell

Heaven No Hell

Michael DeForge. Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 (228p) ISBN 978-1-77046-435-3

DeForge (Familiar Face) returns with another arresting collection of cryptic, spiky modern parables. In DeForge’s constantly shifting, primary-colored universe, characters fluidly change identities, inhabit bizarre cosmologies, and get sucked into the alternate realities of mass media. In “Raised,” a couple uses an app to conjure potential offspring and adjust their lives; “Recommended for You” describes a Purge-like TV show with a fan’s obsessive detail; “One of My Students Is a Murderer... but Which?” is a darkly funny noir mystery set at an elementary school; and entries like “My New Stepdad Is a Disgusting Bug, and I Hate Him” explain themselves. Most of DeForge’s stories, whether serious, comic, or horrific, are driven by a sense of snarky absurdism, but he occasionally touches earth with disarmingly naturalistic pieces such as “Kid Mafia,” about a group of neighborhood kids trying to start a gang. The artwork alternates in style from story to story but is always abstracted and disorienting, building tableaux from bold shapes, blobby figures, and patterns. Occasionally, though, the arch surrealism threatens to grate. But the overall generous collection showcases DeForge’s command of genre, tone, and his trademark inventive visual style. (Mar.)