Simon "Si" Spurrier ("X-Men Legacy") alongside artist P.J. Holden and colorist Jordie Bellaire continue along with the second part of their four part epic which spans the lines of mortality and love. "Numbercruncher #1" told the story of an enforcer for the "Divine Calculator" of heaven, Bastard Zane, who just made a deal to finally end his eternal service to the cosmic accountants of the afterlife with the tragic Richard Thyme, a deceased mathematical genius who died in the 1960's. Having sold a chance at reincarnation to be with his lady love one last time to Zane, the enforcer now seeks to collect in the 2030's when Thyme was reincarnated.
Much like the previous issue, Spurrier crafts a world which tells a very unique version of what lies beyond the mortal coil. Instead of a god, there's the "Divine Calculator" and instead of heaven, there's a rule of accountancy and deal crafting worse than even the largest firms on Wall Street. Zane himself was a thug who made a bargain to the afterlife in exchange for more time with a lover, and he's had to serve the Calculator ever since. Apparently the only way out of eternal servitude for the accountants of the apocalypse is to get some other fool to make a similar contract. Both Zane and the Calculator sought to one-up Thyme by reincarnating him over seventy years in the future, just as the woman he sold his soul to see again died of old age. The chase begins for Zane to claim his soul, only Thyme continues to one-up the agent by making deals with other agents for future reincarnations - and tricking them into fighting each other. In the end, how long can Thyme continue to outwit the agents of the afterlife just for extra time with a woman he loves from across time?
The artwork by Holden is terrific, merging elements of pulp with advanced technology and high concepts. Zane's "accident gun" - a gun which causes death to a target by related accidents within the vicinity - is a delightfully clever idea. With the exposition accomplished in the last issue, this one can focus more on the chase and battle of wits between Zane and Thyme. If there is one downside, it is that Thyme's love who is worth so much hardship and reincarnated lives isn't a character unto herself - she's an object of his obsession and desire, no more vivid than a princess in an average fairy tale. Aside for that, "Numbercruncher" is a very imaginative satire about tales of life and death, mingling a caper film with the supernatural which is unlike virtually everything else on the comic book racks.
Once more, Titan Comics delivers on offering comic readers in Europe and here across the pond some incredibly unique and fascinating comics!