We Can Never Go Home #1 has everything going for it on the hype train. Catchy title, I mean very catchy title; great art, great cover designs, character diversity and high school. I know that last one seems strange, but think about it. How many stories take place in high school? Lots and it works so no complaints here. Again, it has plenty of the right hype working in its favor. Even the genre of crime road trip/gritty realism works in its favor. I’ll tell you right now that I was cautious going into this issue because I could see all of this perfect hype blowing up in my face and so I wanted to guard myself.
But try as I might this comic made me drop my guard over and over to the point that I didn’t even try to protect anymore. All of that perfect, perfect hype actually works to deliver an incredible first issue. In fact, no bullshit, this is one of the best first issues I’ve read all year. Now I don’t know if that means that it will continue to be this good for the rest of the series, but I certainly hope so.
One of our readers Steve L. made the comment the other day that with so many first issues coming out it’s actually a compliment to say that you’ll be back for more. It got me thinking of just how many first issues I’ve read just this year and just wow! It’s a lot, but this one really, really stands out to me.
The story starts off with Duncan hanging out at “make out point” firing a pistol at bottles. He takes some satisfaction at delivering a witty line, but his body language changes when a truck pulls up. Inside are of course two popular students Ben and Madison. Ben is very drunk and Madison isn’t too pleased with him. Creepily Duncan sneaks over to the truck and peers inside at the very one-sided make out session. He makes eye contact with Madison and she doesn’t do anything, but Ben… Ben’s another story. Ben gets out and gets in Duncan’s face unaware of the fact that he has a gun. Madison ask him to calm down and does her best to defuse the situation, but all her efforts get her pushed to the ground.
This proves to be a big mistake for Ben.
Madison’s eyes shoot fucking electricity and she stands up and grabs Ben by the back of the neck and throws him through the open door of the truck and through the driver’s side window. He of course freaks the fuck out which is the only natural response and drives away. Major fucking respect for Madison because it wasn’t for Duncan that she did that, she did that because he laid hands on her and that’s exactly what she warns him against ever doing again as she throws him.
What happens next is a series of conversations between Madison and Duncan and they’re incredible. I’m sure some people were probably like, “enough, I get it” but not me. My only wish is that the status quo of this series could have gone on one more issue so that we could get these prefect high school moments. And here’s the great thing about the conversations… they add to the story and the characters. They’re not bullshit. They’re not there to be cute or clever, they’re serving the story and the characters.
It’s so fucking good.
Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon do wonders on this first issue. I wish I could tell you more about it because the really, really good stuff is at the end. I will be talking about it more on the podcast this week because there’s a lot I want to say about Duncan in particular. There’s things that need to be said, but for the review it’s not worth spoiling for you. Just know that Rosenberg and Kindlon make a great writing duo and I’m hooked on their story. Until the bitter (but hopefully not actually bitter) end.
Before digging into the art I want to talk about Michael Walsh’s fantastic cover. He is my artist for covers because his sense of design is just incredible. He knows when to keep it simple, when to make it complex, but overall it’s aesthetically pleasing through and through. Maybe I’m weird for wanting that for a cover, but I would easily buy this as a poster, a shirt and an album cover. Good design will make you want to do that and really should do that.
The art is in the same vein as Walsh’s which is good. People always complain about the shift from cover to interior, but Josh Hood’s art is a smooth transition. It’s detailed, not quite photo realistic, but realistic enough to give it that true crime feel. Hood’s artwork looks great colored and the coloring adds a lot to the personality and atmosphere of the issue. In particular I loved the range of facial expressions that Hood used because they were more than just smiles and rolling eyes. He captured those simple yet dumb faces we all make when we’re flirting with love. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen that in a comic, but this one was better for it.
You should absolutely buy We Can Never Go Home Again #1 and pre-order the second issue. Hopefully your shop is getting this series because it’s something special for sure. This is going to be that issue that people talk about all year and make comparisons to other properties. Hell I’ve already done that and I was wrong. This isn’t Love and Rockets, this isn’t Stray Bullets, this is the series that will be the next comparison.
You can also hear more about We Can Never Go Home #1 on this week's episode of the CBMFP!