Departure is a story of a family that’s torn apart by abuse. We see that from the beginning of the story as we’re introduced to young kids Rafe and Michael and their parents. Their father abuses their mother over and over throughout the story and this effects Rafe a great deal. We see the story though Rafe’s eyes as he protects his brother, but his anger towards his father continues to build and build until he does something fairly regrettable and no longer knows who he is. The story is very mature and one that’s not commonly seen in comics. Stories of abuse are always difficult to read because if you’re a compassionate human being you shouldn’t be able to stomach seeing such a thing. As the reader what’s worse is that there’s nothing we can do to help the situation which gives you a feeling of helplessness which is likely what the characters are feeling.
What doesn’t particularly work for the story is that it becomes predictable from the get-go. Which isn’t always a bad thing since it’s the journey, but the journey has a lot of bumps. The one-shot jumps forward in time to show the history of the abuse and how it’s affected Rafe. The problem I have is that I don’t think it does a very good job of showing it affecting Rafe. He’s pretty much angry and upset the entire time we see him so when that anger boils over it’s not really character development paying off, but rather the natural conclusion to everything that we’ve seen.
The ending comes across as abrupt. It’s not unexpected entirely, but the story could have used just one more page showing something more. It really leaves you without any closure and maybe that’s the creator’s intention and that feeling is supposed to relate to the story and how the character’s feel, but if that is the case it really doesn’t come across as such without putting in too much thought. Most people are likely to see it as an abrupt ending.
The art is in all black and white, but it looks like it was illustrated with the expectation of coloring because a lot of the panels and backgrounds are very empty which stands out a lot with a black and white comic. The character designs aren’t bad, but there’s a lot of inconsistencies with proportions at times. In general, the art lacks detail and ultimately there's a lot of dead space on the page because of it.
I’m on the fence about recommending this one. Though it does deal with abuse, I don’t know if it really adds anything to the conversation. That’s more than likely in the eye of the beholder and everyone is going to bring different experiences to their reading experience. For me though, I think the story needed to go deeper and present deeper emotions and say something about abuse rather than running away from it.
Departure Writer: Jeane Wong Artist: R.H. Stewart Self-Published Price: $9.99 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital Click to purchase