Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Claire Roe
Release Date: 25th May, 2016
I fell in love with We(l)come Back at issue one, I’ll be the first to admit this. I was delighted when I found out it was commissioned to continue as an ongoing series, and then, I was gutted to find out that in actuality it was only to be eight issues. Whatever the reasons behind this change of heart we’ll probably never know, and I think it’s fair to say that the switch caused a bit of a wobble in the last few issues. I touched on why I think this effected the story in my review of We(l)come Back seven, so it’s fair to say I experienced some trepidation when I finally got my hands on issue eight. So much so that I actually sat on my review copy overnight before I opened it. That’s the beauty of comics, see? It doesn’t matter how old you are, they can have a profound effect on you. Anyway, it turns out I was being an idiot, because We(l)come Back eight is fantastic.
Christopher Sebela has pulled a rabbit out of his hat, and he’s done it with some serious pizazz. Issue eight brings us the antagonist I’d hoped for in Tess’s mother, and oh how I wish we had more time to explore her as she is deliciously bad and self-centered. Not only that, but she’s brilliantly arrogant in the way only a good villain can be. That arrogance is paced brilliantly with the sequel in-jokes that Mali keeps making to Tess as our heroes dodge and weave in between verbal threatening blows and counter-blows. It’s like a dance, and it’s a hell of a fun read.
Not to be outdone though, the dynamic between Tess’s mother and Lorena as the parents of our duo fighting over what they believe is the best outcome for their daughters is highly entertaining. There is something about an adult trapped in a 10 year old’s body squaring up to a middle aged woman with murder on her mind that is downright funny. We even get find out what (or who) Showtime is. It’s perhaps the weakest link of the outcome, but it still works. Chris Sebela manages to tie everything up in this issue, and he does it with panache.
I’m so glad the We(l)come Back found its humor again, but that aside it’s still really a story about two people in love, and this issue will hit you right in the feels. Trapped by Tess’s mum our two protagonists go through the emotional wringer as they struggle to work out what they should do. They can take the easy way out and die – they’ll both come back – but if they take that option how many more lifetimes must they live before they get to this same place? The harder option would be to stay and fight, but it looks like they have been outmaneuvered and have no other alternatives? I can’t say more as I don’t want to give anything away.
As great as the writing of this conclusion is, Claire Roe does an absolutely stellar job of illustrating it. I love her signature style of art and I’ve sang the praises of it in my previous reviews. Look at how dynamic she draws the action sequences, how fluid in movement she makes her subjects. I just find it captivating. What she does brilliantly is convey the emotion of the moment in her subjects. The hubris of Tess’s mother as she believes utterly that she has won, the hatred in Mali towards her, the exuberance of youth and indignant helplessness and frustration of being a child in Lorena are all plain to see in the panels of We(l)come Back. Her pies de la resistance is the obvious love between Tess and Mali, no more so than in that final panel. I just loved it, and it’s a testament to her talent that she’s been picked up by DC to draw their new Birds of Prey series as part of the Rebirth shake up. She’ll kill it.
I am gutted We(l)come Back is over, but I am so glad that the finale that had been crafted for the story was so good. Clearly I’m not going to spoil it here, but rest assured, looking back on it you’ll find yourself nodding your head in agreement. It’s a perfect fit, every loose end is tied up and the conclusion is a proper one, not just a convenient one. There is both tenderness and a little tragedy in the outcome, but I don’t think I would have wanted it any other way, and how fitting it is that that final graphic in the issue is an ever decreasing circle. Such feels!
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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.