- Paperback: 164 pages
- Publisher: Black Mask Comics (December 22, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1628750847
- ISBN-13: 978-1628750843
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.6 x 10.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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We Can Never Go Home Volume 1 Paperback – December 22, 2015
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The positive thing about this book is that it's a really fun exploitation movie style comic before you get to the back matter afterwards. It's got a Oliver Stone in the early 90s getting a chance at directing a Stranger Things style series vibe where Stranger Things isn't a slow moving crawl. Basically, it's sloppy and things just happen but it's fun and enjoyable. Is this a book where the popular girl in high school violently fights off a bunch of trigger happy cops in nothing but a towel using super powers? Yep, it definitely is and that's what makes all the essays and back matter in the book so weird.
So after 5 issues of non-stop goofiness about a weird, stalker poor kid getting involved in a Thelma and Louise situation with the rich, hot girl from his high school and it involving X-files level shenanigans, the book ends with a bunch of essays about gun violence and basically a discussion guide. It's like a random PSA tucked in the back. It's as useless as Jerry Springer's final message moment at the end of the Jerry Springer show and just as unintentionally humorous. It's focused mostly on gun violence. I'm not an NRA member but they chose a weird story to explain why I need to fear gun violence since this book is filled with every kind of violence you can think of both real and imaginary. The guns were pretty ineffective and especially so in the face of the hot girl from high school and her super powers and lightning eyes. Seriously, not many people die from guns here but a ton more die from the super punches of a teenage girl and some government agents. The guns even fix a few situations and set some characters free. Basically, it fails to demonize guns but makes me think twice about hanging out with peeping toms or popular girls. I might get stuck in a Goonies meets Natural Born Killers situation like what happens here meaning I really want to hang out potentially with both. None of this PSA stuff works on any level and feels like a bad get out of jail free card. It's like Matthew Rosenberg suddenly realized it's not all that feminist to have a girl in a towel fighting cops with super powers while a boy ogles her despite the gun fire and thought he better put in something about gun control cause then he'd be right thinking again for the critics and bloggers on twitter, tumblr, comics alliance, etc. It's like he displayed some ID and freaked out.
It's confusing too on the level that the book ends on a semi-realistic note. It even has an extremely odd, flamboyant, and maybe trans-y villain who hangs out with a bunch of other odd ducks. They never take the time to explain everything in ways that would just bum you out. It's all out of the ordinary for a typical comic book or for that matter TV show or movie where everything is explained to us little people or where the sexual minority types are nothing but saints. Matthew Rosenberg can write well and clearly has some good ideas. He really does have undeniable skill here and it's a shame that he goes running off into pander land. I get wanting to be important socially but you gotta work for it. You can't just jump steps with a poorly thought out discussion guide and an assurance some of the money from this book went to gun control advocacy groups.
The illustration team is excellent. I hadn't mentioned them yet but they all are just great. They don't seem to have the whole late 80s and early 90s thing down but they make their own weird little world where white kids in Trayvon Martin hoodies get saved from government agents by the popular girl in school with super powers. The coloring is what ultimately sells it. They got 2 colorists here and they work well together. Honestly, they make a purchase of the book almost worth it.
I've been down on the book but it's what I expected. Black Mask Studios routinely produces interesting books that take these wild left turns that make me completely rethink if the book is actually good or not. In this case, the book fails cause it doesn't work at getting me to worry about gun violence. Heck, they even let me know that I should care more as a bi-racial person in the back but no dice. It's not a bad book but it's not what they wanted it to be and frankly it really talks down to you at the end. Because of all that, I gotta remove an extra star. Looking forward to the obvious sequel and the trade of 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank.
As hard as this book is to find, I was expecting something really deep. Maybe it would have been had the author kept the focus just on the teen couple. But soon there is a government conspiracy, and there's a group of rebel mutants/science experiments, and suddenly I'm thinking this is just a low-rent X-men book.
I may pick up the second volume when it comes out just to see where it goes from here, but I can hide my disappointment with this volume given all the hype surrounding it.