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.