Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Jonathan Brandon Sawyer (with Claire Roe)
Release Date: 14th October, 2015
Issue two begins exactly where we left off. A newly awakened Mali has just arrived home to find her re-incarnated stepdad (who is a little girl) waiting to fill her in on her past lives, the eternal war, the fact that she is currently being hunted by her opposite who has just arrived in NYC, and what to do next. That’s in the first couple of pages. With me so far? Cool!
In a nutshell that is what I think is one of the most fantastic strengths about this series. Christopher Sebela’s writing has managed to make a 20 page issue seem so much larger, but it’s not intrusive and doesn’t feel like information overload at any point.
Issue two focuses on a few points – the first half follows Mali’s escape out of New York with her dad and her induction to her new, her real life, while simultaneously hinting at the bigger backstory. The war, what it’s about, and who some of the players in it are, and some basic structure of the two warring sides.
The second half of the issue conveys how Mali and her opposite (Tessa) are, well, opposite. Tessa is fully committed to the war and hunting down and killing Mali, single minded and cruel she kills anyone in her path and –with the exception of her subordinate, James- seems to be a loner. Mali, on the other hand, does not want the life, and has no interest in the war or killing. At the safe house she escaped to she is now forced into it by threats made by her faction against the people in her life. They stipulate she has to prove herself by taking on a hit, once that is done she’ll be ‘fully awake,’ and will no longer have doubts. We also find out that Mali and Tessa both have parents that act as mentors to them in the war. Mali’s dad we have already met, Tessa we only know through her phone conversations.
I’ve mentioned before this issue is jam-packed with story information, too much for me to cover in this summary, but there is one question that I am dying to know: You are supposed to assume that Mali is on the ‘good guys,’ side, but how can we possibly know this for sure? Tessa may have all the associated qualities of the stereotypical bad guy, but so far we’ve learned nothing to confirm that, and I’m dying to find out what this was actually is?
Everything about Welcome Back is big, from the excellent writing to the art and the lettering. Every page has at least 5 panels, sometimes as many as 7 and every section of page real estate is covered by either the exceptional inks and colours of Sawyer and Zamudio or the letters of Aldridge. Each page is packed with story and it’s a testament to writer, and artists that the end product is a cohesive and completely compelling story that the reader can enjoy.
We(l)come Back is an absolute blast. It’s a fairly simple idea that has been beautifully written and drawn that immediately engages the reader, issue two carries on seamlessly from issue one and doesn’t falter on action, adrenaline, or story. In fact, it hints to a broader world that is fleshed out much so much that I don’t think a four issue run just isn’t going to be enough for me. I will want more over time – it also have movie written all over it. I’m surprised it’s not already been optioned.
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.