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?
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