Review – Welcome Back #1 (of 4) (BOOM! Studios)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Illustrated: Jonathan Brandon Sawyer
Colours: Carlos Zamudio
Letters: Shawn Aldridge
Release Date: 19th August, 2015

Imagine you’re the step-daughter of one of the world’s worst serial killers. Now imagine that you have no direction in life and that all your mail is either bills or weird “fan” mail because of who your dad is. If you can imagine that then, wow… just, wow… you have a hell of an imagination, and may need some help. Anyway, that’s pretty much the life of Maiziebell Lirah, who has tried to escape her past as the daughter of the Omaha Ripper by moving city and changing her name to Mali.

This first issue join Mali as she is struggling to decide just what she should do with her life. In her current state she is depressed, jobless and, as she puts it, circling the drain. That all changes however when, following a random attack, she remembers everything. In this universe reincarnation is real and two groups have been challenging each other throughout the ages. Mali’s counterpart has found her and is on her way to kill Mali.

This is the best first issue I have read in a long, long time. While the plot may sound a bit ‘out there’, the ideas and themes are expertly introduced and made utterly believable by Sebela’s strong writing. The main sci-fi supernatural aspect of the book may be heavily borrowed from the likes of the Last Airbender or Quantum Leap, but the executions feels fresh enough so not be a rip-off. There are multiple scenes in which you see two people fighting in various time periods –  presumably, Mali and her rival’s past selves – but even this doesn’t get old. The characters, including the minor flashback ones, actually feel like real, complex individuals with their own goal and motives, a feat which is doubly impressive when you consider just the few panels some of them appear in.

This is also due in large part to the excellent artwork and colouring by the team. The emotions of Mali and the other characters are depicted brilliantly, somehow managing to capture the subtle difference of the character’s true emotions when they are trying to hide them. The style of the book is somewhat reminiscent of Kick-Ass and similarly the action, while not much in this opening issue, is brought to life in such a way that I could definitely see this story being taken to the big screen.

Overall, this is a really, really good introduction to a well-paced and balanced story that I recommend you get on board with as soon as possible.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: David Gladman

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