Review: Home #1
Fuck our immigration system. Fuck taking kids from their parents. Our system is broken and needs vast reform. This is where I’m coming from going in to reading Home #1, the new comic series published by Image Comics. Home follows a young boy who is torn away from his mother while seeking asylum at the U.S. border. The trauma unleashes something within him, causing him to gain superhuman abilities. Yes, that latter part of the concept might sound familiar but it’s the raw and heartbreaking setting within which it happens that is different, though a reality that’s not new.
Written by Julio Anta, Home #1 opens with a riff on real words from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The address was delivered in 2018. The comic follows a mother and her son as they flee their home of Guatemala in hopes of seeking asylum in the United States. What they don’t know is that policy changed while they were making their journey morphing into the horrible policies under former President Donald Trump. Anta doesn’t name Trump or Sessions but the words used, the hate inflicted, the cages, it’s all clear that the administration is the inspiration for this story.
Anta delivers a heartbreaking story. While we’re given only a bit of the details of why these two, Mercedes and Juan Gomez, are fleeing their country, it’s no less difficult to read. The comic gives an overview of the difficult journey of the two but what’s presented is nowhere near the brutal reality many face. And what’s presented is still difficult to read. We’re also taken through the immigration system with guards and bureaucrats whose racism and hate flows from their mouths at ease. The comic reminds us that due to the election of Trump, far too many in the nation felt it was ok to look at others as less than human. That compassion was something that wasn’t deserved. The hate is present.
Anna Wiesczyk‘s art is really nice to look at. With color by Bryan Valenza and lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou the art emphasizes the emotion of its two travelers. It’s heart is in the looks of fear, sadness, and anger. There’s a dip towards the end of the comic where it dips into a bit of a cartoon look that reminded me of Don Bluth but the visuals overall will stick with you. The big thing that stands out though is things are a bit too “clean”.
There’s a worn-down grittiness that’s missing in the art style which stood out to me. But, depending on where the series goes, that style might not work. We’ll see. If anything, the “lighter” style of the art doesn’t quite match the tone and subject for me. It’s good though and if anything lightens up what would be a very dark and emotionally straining comic otherwise.
Home #1 isn’t perfect and has some bumps in its narrative but it’s an important read. The end of the comic is a bit rocky and doesn’t match the quality of everything up to that point. Some dialogue feels a bit comical in its delivery, an unfortunate distraction. But, the majority of the comic is heartbreaking. Home is attempting to address a wrong that persists and it’s doing so through the long tradition of using entertainment as its messenger.
Story: Julio Anta Art: Anna Wiesczyk
Color: Bryan Valenza Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.45 Recommendation: Read
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review