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Review: Home #1

Home #1

I had no idea what Home #1 was about when I opened the review pdf just after midnight on Wednesday. Absolutely none – and while that experience was incredible, it’s going to be hard to talk about the comic without talking about the content of the book, so if you want the same experience then stop reading this review now, because frankly this comic is one that you should read.

Still with me?

Fair enough.

So what’s the comic about? Home #1 is the story of a mother and son who have given up everything to come to the United States, by seeking asylum at the border between the USA and Mexico. Given that this comic is set at some point in the last four years, and given the news that has emerged about the Trump Administration’s policy of separating parents and children, you can probably imagine what happens next. But even knowing that, doesn’t make it any easier to read.

Written by Julio Anta with art by Anna Wieszczyk, colours by Bryan Valenza and lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, the comic takes an unfiltered look at what life had been like for asylum seekers during the last four years (am I being too optimistic in thinking that things have changed? I hope not, but I also know that this isn’t an area that I’m an expert in). Anta’s dialogue will tear at your heart, the hope his characters have turning to uncertainty and fear is heartbreaking, and it hits so much harder because of the art work. There’s a distinct shift from warm colours toward cold and clinical greys and blues as Mercedes and Juan Gomez are faced with the reality of their situation.

Home #1 is not easy to read, but I think it’s a story that needs to be read; just because it’s a fictional story, doesn’t make the emotions within the comic any less vivid. The creative team really knows how to punch you in the gut. There’s a slight drop in the art toward the end of the book as things feel a little looser than before, but after reading the book a few times, I’m inclined to think that the looseness is a choice based on the events on the pages themselves.

But there’s still optimism in the story – well, apparently there will quite a lot based on Anta’s afterward, but I don’t know what to think of that at the moment, but there’s definitely signs of a brighter future… maybe. I don’t know. Obviously I believe the writer of the comic, but I’m not seeing anything like that right now.

All I really know about this book is that you need to read this comic.

Story: Julio Anta Artist: Anna Wieszcyk
Colourist: Bryan Valenza Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Image provided a FREE copy for review, but I also purchased the comic

Purchase: comiXology – Amazon – TFAW

Review: Home #1

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

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonTFAW

Preview: Quantum and Woody #3


Pre-Order Edition Cover by STEVE LIEBER
Cover E 1/20 “Extra Virgin” Variant by DAVID NAKAYAMA
On sale MARCH 25 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Quantum & Woody are back in high school – this time to solve a murder!
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