Swan Songs #1 Review

Swan Songs #1 Advance Review

In exploring the comic book offering from Image Comics one that caught my eye for July was Swan Songs by W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Simmonds. The cover was immediately striking. And once I saw that the solicitation mention this mini-series is a set of one-shot stories I was very interested to see how that is framed with the concept of how a person deals with their endings. How will this concept be put onto the page? Let’s find out with Swan Songs #1.


Writer: W. Maxwell Prince

Artist: Martin Simmonds

Letterer: Good Old Neon


“W. MAXWELL PRINCE (ICE CREAM MAN HAHA) continues his weird winning one-shot formula with this all-new multi-artist project that explores the way things END…and also how they never really do. SWAN SONGS comprises stories about endings…The End of the World. The End of a Marriage. The End of a Sentence. The End of the End of the World! (Which I suppose one might consider the BEGINNING of a new world…)

And along for the terminal ride are some of comics’ best and brightest artists! The first apocalyptic issue “The End of the World” is drawn by none other than THE DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH’s MARTIN SIMMONDS. Future artists for future endings include CASPAR WIJNGAARD (HOME SICK PILOTS) and FILIPE ANDRADE (The Many Deaths of Leila Star) with more to be announced.

All things come to a close; these are the SWAN SONGS.” – Image Comics


The best way to describe Swan Songs #1 is that it is both dark and sweet. This first issue sets the tone for this anthology series not cutting corners when exploring what it means to tackle the end of something. For this first issue it is the case of both the end of life and the world. Its done in a way that feels like you are punched in he gut emotionally with each turn of the page but can’t stop reading because you want to see the ending W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Simmonds craft.

Its truly impressive how Prince and Simmonds tackle explore pain and love in a story where a lead has to deal with the realities of his terminally ill mother and the world in the midst of an apocalyptic event. Dealing with one of these situations is hard enough but both at the same time create a world that feels hopeless. Its in creating this type of world that makes the journey of our lead character that much more fascinating.

Swan Songs #1 Martin Simmonds Cover
Martin Simmonds cover for Swan Songs #1. Credit: Image Comics

He is no great hero. He is just trying to spend the time he has with his mother to continue to create positive memories. It makes how we experience the world itself through the journey he goes on when he steps outside his apartment that much more harrowing. There is so much that tells the character to stop trying to live in this world. Its this journey that makes you want to see how his story concludes at the end of Swan Song #1.

This is all a credit to Prince and Simmonds are world builders. They absolutely nail how hopeless an end of the world scenario would likely look like. With everyone in the world knowing about the coming apocalypse you get wide range of reactions to it through every place our lead visits. This type of setting adds to the emotional journey our lead goes on as you get visuals that painful to see.

The artwork by Simmonds may not be for everyone. It is certainly not what you expect from a traditional comic book. But Swan Songs is not a traditional comic book. Simmonds artwork is a case of art fitting the tone of the story our creators are looking to tell.


Swan Songs #1 does an incredible job taking you on an emotional journey in an apocalyptic setting. The journey in a hopeless world our lead character takes is one filled with pain and loss that creates an emotional investment in seeing that journey through to the end. Its through experiencing what is ultimately a mother-son story that you’re left with a story that stays with you after well after finishing reading Swan Song #1.

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10