We Can Never Go Home was one of those books last month that hit me almost out of nowhere. I’d seen the promotional stuff, I knew the broad strokes, but in actual practice, it was much more nuanced and specific than I was expecting. The second issue does not disappoint. Duncan and Madison are on the run for real now, and like any good movie about teenage lovers on the run from the law, they have to get road snacks, gas, and cash. After a short confrontation with Maddie’s parents and ex-boyfriend, they confront some drug dealers that Duncan seems to know too well, before checking into a filthy motel where they may be in more danger than they thought.
Josh Hood and Amanda Scurti’s art really stands out in this issue. They create a world bathed in a neon nostalgia glow, and they still make the characters feel real. When Madison uses her powers to take people down, it still feels grounded in a way that many superhero comics (and, hell, comics in general) do not. These characters feel like they add weight to the world in which they live, instead of floating inside and around it. They also get a lot more to do in this issue, as well as more weight to carry, as Rosenberg and Kindlon’s script is much less wordy than last month’s.
The authenticity of Rosenberg and Kindlon’s writing is what grabbed me about the first issue. Where this could have been a story about teenagers throwing clichéd barbs from John Hughes movies at each other, it felt like a window into the past, where high school was still going on (truly a nightmare scenario). It also helps sell some of the more out-there aspects of the script, like Madison’s mom going full-Boogie Nights and mentioning what could be (hopefully is) a SHADOWY ORGANIZATION! (I love shadowy organizations). We also get plenty of character building moments, with a lot of hints that Duncan isn’t the ©Nice Guy that he claims to be, and Madison’s powers being put to the test. It’s a tense issue, and it goes by even more quickly than the first one, but a lot happens; it never feels like a rip-off.
I’m also loving the music references this series is building itself around. It’s like a violent High Fidelity, based in bands from Our Band Could Be Your Life. This issue, “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver,” is named after a Mission of Burma reference, which seems like a fairly deep cut to the average reader. And the mixtape playlists in each issue are top-notch, as well. I know that doesn’t really add or detract to the comic itself, but it certainly adds a feeling of a fleshed out world, and (here’s that word again) authenticity to the whole affair.
I can’t wait to see where Team We Can Never Go Home heads with this in the coming months. This mini from Black Mask is shaping up to be the kind of series you want to see from an indie publisher, with dynamic characters, a fully realized world, and the kind of cliffhangers that leave you wanting more without beating you over the head with it. Can’t wait for next month’s installment.
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We Can Never Go Home #2 Writers: Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon Artist: Josh Hood Colorist: Amanda Scurti Letterer: Jim Campbell Publisher: Black Mask Studios Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital