The Returning is probably been my favorite newcomer this year. Of course it is only four issues long, but usually these stories are best for me. It packs a punch without having to be a super loyal fan. Jason Starr offers such a raw story about near death survivors who seem to have changed after their experience. It results in NDEs being more violent and becoming murderers. To me, so far the comic has shown a lot into how society would react if there was such a disease or parasite that changed us. It is amazing how people can rally behind a sign and not understand a damn thing. Beth is their newest member. She has gone through a lot, mostly losing her family, and now has the choice to do something about all the stereotypes around “changers”... or does she. Her dad and brother were murder soon after she had her experience. The town holds her responsible and without anyone left Beth is as lost as ever.
Last issue, we met up with Marcus. We don’t yet know his role in Beth’s ordeal, but he seems to be the only hope for her. Like any teenager, Beth runs away thinking he is out to get her. She ran into some pretty strange people who unlike Marcus she trusted right away. This is right where we pick up. The group ends up being some terrorist group. Beth is about to die, but instead goes into this instinctual mode that comes from within or is a part of her changing process. She fights of the group only to find herself wanting Marcus back. I think she finally realizes that she needs to be careful with who she trusts. Before leaving the weirdos, this old lady haggles her and tells Beth that she isn’t a changer. Yeah I am confused too. I have a feeling that NDEs change into all sorts of different beings. Someone is trying real hard to convince them that they are all murderers though. That is my theory for now at least. I am sure it will change tomorrow.
The whole issue ends on this confusion level. Ya gotta love it though. Just when you think some clear answers will come out, the comic has some twist. We are totally going on this ride at the same time Beth is. I love comics don’t let the reader in on anything and leave us to wonder with our lead. It allows for us to get our emotions involved. I can tell you that the comic has shifted from how society would act to this underground war developing. There is definitely some psychological warfare being played, but for a different purpose. The Returning dives deep into the psyche and will no doubt drag you into the lies as well. Catch up with this awesome tale before the ending hits.
Writer: Jason Starr Artist: Andrea Mutti Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/14/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital