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on 31 July 2012
Jack Joseph has a wife with a baby on the way and a job welding pipes underwater for an oil rig off the coast of Nova Scotia in the small town he grew up in. Things should be great - good job, happy family - but Jack's haunted by the disappearance of his father 20 years ago who went diving one night during Hallowe'en and never returned. His dreams have seeped over from the night into the daytime and under the sea, welding pipes, he begins to see and hear things from those dreams. And lately his dreams have seemed so real.

Jeff Lemire's impressive comics career has really taken off in the last couple years with his brilliant creator-owned "Sweet Tooth" series for Vertigo, his one-off book "The Nobody", and signing on to DC's New 52 reboot series "Animal Man" and "Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE", and he continues this successful streak with the excellent story of "The Underwater Welder". It reads a lot like a Twilight Zone episode with supernatural elements creeping into the story early on before totally submerging it (pun intended) and taking the reader with it.

Lemire's line-work in his art is perfectly suited to the ghostly story presented here with many disturbing elements such as Joseph's father's alcoholic face staring out of an obituary page to the reader or the surreal experiences Joseph experiences under the waves. The parallels between Joseph and his father's life is also haunting as Lemire merges the two into an intertwining and complex storyline that adds to the feeling of unease this reader felt as the story unfolded.

I'm a sucker for ghost stories especially when they're told in a compelling and mysterious way like this and I've been a huge fan of Lemire's since the "Essex County Trilogy" so I'm predisposed to enjoy this book, but it has all the elements of a successful comic book: great twisty story, likeable main character, great art with imaginative layouts, and clever plotting. "The Underwater Welder" is a superb book from one of the most gifted comics artist/writers living today and is a fantastic read.
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on 19 August 2012
I bought this graphic novel from Amazon for a very good price. I was intrigued by it after hearing a lot of praise for it, and some declaring it best graphic novel of the year. And i'm glad I bought it as this has to be one of the most heart-wrenching, poignant (and spooky) graphic novel I have read for some time!

Jeff Lemire's artwork is absolutely beautiful to behold and very evocative of William Blakes magnificent line drawings (i was a big fan of his growing up).

The story centres around Jack Joseph, an underwater welder. He is living with his girlfriend Susan and they're both expecting a baby soon. However Jack is haunted by the disappearance of his father on Halloween 20 years ago. He went diving one day and never came back. Jack cannot find peace. What happened to his father? Did he drown as was reported by the newspaper's at the time or did he move on?

One day Jack goes diving. And something happens........

He find's a pocket watch on the sea bed. He loses consciousness and someone call's out his name ''Jack...time to wake up....it's time....''

He is rescued by his work colleague. He is given leave from work by the doctor, but Jack does not want to go. Something is pulling him back to the deep.

Lemire does a fantastic job expressing these deep rooted question's and the trauma of losing a father through his beautiful artwork. Jack seem's selfish as a person, he want's to do what is right but he can't. He need's closure. It's interesting looking at the artwork because all the moment's of Jack on dry land are normal 9 panel pages (roughly). Even whole images have been made into panel's which make it look like Jack is stuck in prison, he is held by the shackles of his father's disappearance. And whenever he is underwater there are no (panel) restriction's. Jack is free when he is on his own with his own thought's. And that was the reason why Lemire drew it that way.

We get flashback's when we see Jack as a boy, interracting with his father. He is a likeable fellow, divorced from Jack's mother. These are very thoughtful, poignant moment's in the book. Little momen'ts like Jack's father giving him a pocket watch (which is key in the story).

I love the whole 'Twillight Zone' moment of the book when Jack walk's through the deserted town. He resembles his father wholly. He want's to get back to his wife but cannot leave the town. He is stuck and it is up to him to confront his past and make peace if he is to leave. And what follow's next is moving and heart-wrenching to say the least. I have to say I had a tear in my eye when I read it.

This graphic novel has to be the best comic i've read this year without question. And deserves all the praise by everyone who has read it. I've found a new favourite writer/ artist in Jeff Lemire and cannot wait to read his other works.

''and if you're scared just take my hand, just hold on tight boy-o-mine, in my arm's you'll just be fine....''
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on 9 October 2013
This is a fantastic little story that really shows what the medium is capable of. Lemire's ink washes capture the bleak coastal skies expressively whilst his sketchy characters are engaging and heartbreaking. Mysterious and melancholy though it is, the book is ultimately optimistic. I'm going to go hug my son now and read him the lullaby contained within.
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on 7 March 2013
Loved the art style. The atmosphere. The setting of a small town. Love the message it delivers.

One of the few books i read more than once.

My only complaint is after only one VERY CAREFUL read the back three pages have started to tear away from the spine already.
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on 29 December 2014
The introduction to this volume sums it up brilliantly. It's like an episode of the Twilight Zone that was never produced. The story of an expectant father and his coming to terms with his Dad and a secret is really enthralling. A lot of modern graphic novels have crude artwork and this one manages to use various means to engage us in the story whilst remaining interesting.
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on 28 December 2012
I was recommended Jeff Lemire to me as something different to my normal graphic novels. The artwork is great and certainly adds to the eerie feel. The plot allows you to read around it opposed to being appointed. I would recommended this to anyone that likes interesting plots & imagery.
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on 8 June 2013
Beautifully well drawn and it's so easy to love and relate to the characters. About half way through you really start to feel what the characters are feeling. I never wanted this masterpiece to end. Fluid, gut wrenching, wonderfully heavy. You will sink into this book.
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on 14 August 2012
Jeff Lemire's latest release is in no ways a surprise - he has shown a deft touch for the tragedy that can befall simple men throughout his writing career, beginning with Lost Dogs, and continuing through Essex County and his brilliant work on Sweet Tooth. The Underwater Welder continues this theme, depicting Lemire's favourite kind of reluctant hero, a strong rural Canadian, whose life is tinged with sadness buried deep in the past. The black and white art is perfect to reflect the loneliness of coastal Eastern Canada, amid lashing rain and dark nights. The story is about confronting the past and facing the future. Within it, Lemire reminds that in the storm of life, sometimes just clinging on is the best we can do.
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on 6 August 2012
This is quite simply one of the best books I have read this year, possibly ever. The story is thoroughly engaging with wonderfully written characters. In a word superb!!!
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on 13 January 2013
A cerebral tale of understanding the influences and impact of parenthood & your own origins- told with imagination and a hauntingly simple sketchy drawing style
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