Everybody in this graphic novel is dead. Literally, the entire tale has as its setting the fabled Purgatory, here shown to be the middleground between Heaven and Hell. Specifically, Purgatory is created so as to aid the lost souls who are otherwise caught between the ongoing and neverending war between the two megalithic realms. And the Ferrymen- neither angels or demons themselves- serve the sole purpose of running defense for said lost souls.
Gilgrim does offer up an interesting plot here. I have personally never read his work before, but I was quickly drawn into the story of Dorothy as she awakens beyond her life, stuck in the limbo of a situation lightyears beyond her control. The personalities are certainly colorful enough to give cause for the reader to forget that this is a black and white book. Charon, arguably the hero of the Ferrymen, and his brothers in arms Acheron and Mors all must deal with this new presence on their scene, and the suggestions that larger hands are at play. We meet players from all sides as Dorothy develops and so earns a new role for herself in the forever. And, we learn that there really are things worse than death.
The art, while heavily manga in style, is not at all of the animated/cartoony, brushy approach. Gilgrim obviously puts much thought into his storytelling, though my take is that his strength is more in his writing. Still, this is a fun look for a sometimes heavy in tone work, and as such completes a rather nice package. While the look especially may appeal to many a young Goth enthusiast, there is much more here than would typically attract the atypical Hot Topix customer.
Nicely done book. If you do not consider yourself very Gothic, but absolutely loved The Sandman series nonetheless, then this would draw you in just as easily, I would imagine. My curiosity was peaked enough to warrant adding The Cemeterians to my own backlist. Worth a strong look, for those looking for something without capes.