INDIE COMIC REVIEW: We Can Never Go Home #5 | FanboysInc

INDIE COMIC REVIEW: We Can Never Go Home #5

By Buddy Beaudoin

INDIE COMIC REVIEW: We Can Never Go Home #5

Writers: Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon

Artists: Josh Hood, Brian Level, Tyler Boss, David C. Hopkins


Black Mask Studios

Way back in the day, Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon, joined by an entirely different art team brought us the first issue of We Can Never Go Home under Ardden Publishing. The first issue sold as a convention exclusive and attracted a fair amount of buzz. Since that time, Rosenberg and Kindlon have found a home at Black Mask Studios. With a new team of artists, the vision of We Can Never Go Home has finally been finished. Well, at least the first arc has.

INDIE COMIC REVIEW: We Can Never Go Home #5

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We Can Never Go Home is a story about young adults that in no way fits the mold of the Young Adult section at your local book store. The main characters, Maddie and Duncan, are crass and violent. The story was not designed to answer any of your questions. There are no origin stories. It’s just a fast-paced story about two kids getting into a hell of a lot of trouble, and the consequences that follow. It’s a lot of fun.

The fifth issue marks the close of the first arc. After a brief introduction to Mr. Carroll in the last issue, the dude behind all of the blood and action, Rosenburg and Kindlon take advantage of the opportunity to give us a little insight into the seedy world in which Maddie and Duncan have found themselves. They do so by introducing the crime network run by Carroll and a series of wonderfully placed fight scenes. We quickly learn that Maddie is more powerful than anyone has realized, and that Mr. Carroll is a sadist.

The art in the entire series is good, and is consistent the entire way, but the fifth issue shines. Hood, Level, and Boss bring the grit and make this book just as gross as it needs to be. The action scenes are complimented well by the smooth line work of Hood and Level, and are finished nicely with the muted palette that Boss has chosen. The color work really makes the more blood-soaked panels pop off the page and helps you to feel the hits from Maddie and Carroll’s gang of super-powered miscreants.

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The arc finishes on kind of an ambiguous high note, but the book is promised to return in 2016. What I love about how the first arc was concluded is that there is almost no consideration for why anything is happening. Not really. There’s no explanation of why people have powers or where they came from; there’s barely even any character development. Maddie gets a little bit right at the end, as she finally owns being a bad-ass, but Duncan is just as lost as he was from the first page of the first book.

All of that may sound like a way to blow your story, or to serve as a middle finger to the reader, but that’s kind of why I love We Can Never Go Home: It gives the first arc room to breathe. Rosenberg and Kindlon tell their story and set up a huge series of events without having to slow anything down to explain themselves. There’s something to be said for that.

I do, however, feel that the innumerable amount of questions established in the first arc deserve to be answered. My speculation would be that the second arc will take on a lot of that responsibility, and if that’s the case, it should read well. The first arc is very engaging. Everything down to the dialog is precise. In leaving that ending open, they’ve created an opportunity to not only give themselves time to develop their narrative, but to create a very fulfilling return.

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We Can Never Go Home is available in single issues from Black Mask Studios, or as a collected trade paperback of the story so far. There’s no release date yet that I’ve found of issue six, but if it stays true to what they’ve got going on, it’s going to be great.

You can follow more of We Can Never Go Home through Black Mask’s social networking, or through Rosenberg and Kindlon’s own imprint, Ashcan Press.

The “Best There Is:” The first arc ends on a high note that leaves a whole lot of room to work with in the development of arc two. The artwork in this issue is possibly the best in the series. Rosenberg and Kindlon have established themselves as a great collaborative team. They manage to write this story in a way that doesn’t lose track of itself, and it’s all done in a singular voice – not the easiest task when writing as a team.

The “Not Very Nice:” I’ve said before that art doesn’t have to be for everyone, and I think that’s the case here. It would be easy to see how this book may lose some readership at the close of its first arc, given that almost nothing is explained. That could be a tough loss for an indie team, but hopefully will not serve to damage the progress of this book.

FBI Score: 8.5 out of 10: We Can Never Go Home takes you back to a time when responsibility was never on the horizon. The characters are smart and relatable. The art is engrossing and full of surprises. The end of the first arc is satisfying and consistent with the story as a whole. This is an encouraging piece of work for indie creators, and should be on your radar.

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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