Review: We Can Never Go Home #3

Has it already been a whole month? We’re back to the story of Madison and Duncan on the run, the finest 80s throwback series on the stands right now (yeah, you heard me, Miami Vice Remix), so let’s just jump right in. When last we left them, Madison and Duncan were in a sleazy motel room with money from their first heist, reclaiming drug money from bad people. The police arrive, looking for their (stolen) car, and Duncan and Madison (but actually entirely Madison) fight them off. They make their way out to a Wal-Mart and get Duncan patched up and find Madison some new clothes, with a great superhero costume montage along the way. Once they get their new threads, they pull off a much more successful heist and, like teenagers, go to an amusement park. Just when everything seems like this perfect day will bring them together, Madison is overwhelmed by the weight of what they’ve done and leaves Duncan alone with his insecurities.

This issue feels a lot more like the first issue than last month’s did; much more focus on the interplay between the two characters after the burst of action in issue two. The book is building towards something that I can’t quite grab the thread of yet, but it’s a ride I’m enjoying taking, especially when I get to read scenes between Duncan and Madison. There are several sequences in this issue when the scene slows down and lets us live in Duncan and Madison’s teenage, hormonal heads, and their dialogue each time is pitch perfect.

We-Can-Never-Go-Home-#3-1While Rosenberg and Kindlon have certainly got their characters’ voices down pat, the art team on We Can Never Go Home really shines this month. There are several times that Josh Hood throws down 9 panel montage pages (and an amazing montage it is), fairly static (action-wise) dialogue scenes, and at one point early on in the issue, a 15 panel page. It’s heavy lifting and he pulls it all off and makes it move incredibly smoothly. Meanwhile, new colorist Tyler Boss matches the tone for the series set by Amanda Scurti almost uncannily, with a true standout being the exterior of the motel. He combines all kinds of neon shades to create a world that is distinctly retro and 80s, but still brings out the beauty there and not the sleaze.

This is a book filled with action scenes of teenagers fighting off police using their superpowers and robbing drug dealers, but for me, it lives and dies on its small moments. Early on in the issue, just when you think Duncan is super useless and annoying, he remembers to grab toothbrushes for the two of them during a gunfight; later, Madison catches snowflakes on her tongue. It’s a good reminder that’s missing from a lot of books like this (or featuring this age group, like an X-Men title) that these two are children. Rosenberg and Kindlon seem to be planting seeds that Duncan isn’t such a good guy (and probably doesn’t have powers), but for now, he’s just a brash kid, shooting off his mouth, overselling an arm wound and starting fights. Watching these two kids try to make it as they go on a 1980s American version of a walkabout is a treat every month.

Stray Observations:

  • This didn’t really fit anywhere else in my review, but I loved that the theme park rides were named after other Black Mask titles.
  • I also loved the superhero montage, but noticed that the only logo they couldn’t use was the Superman “S”, so now I’m wondering on a tangent about the legalities of the agreement with Siegel & Shuster vs. Marvel apparently not having a problem with them using the Phoenix logo. Also, I love that this is a Wal-Mart where you can find Judge Dredd and Tank Girl costumes.

Score: 5/5

We Can Never Go Home #3 Writers: Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon Artist: Josh Hood Colorist: Tyler Boss Letterer: Jim Campbell Publisher: Black Mask Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/10/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital