Boom Studios has been celebrating its tenth anniversary in quite a fashion: by releasing some of its most creatively inspired and diverse original titles to date. 2015 has seen an amazing output from Boom, who can happily add Welcome Back the list.
Welcome Back #1, which comes from Christopher Sebela and Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, details the seemingly dead-end life of Mali, a mid-twenties slacker stuck in an endless rut. See, she used to be “normal,” until it turned out her dad was a serial killer and her world came crashing down. Now, having changed her name, she struggles to get by and struggles harder trying to figure out what she even wants with her life.
But that’s not even our story. A war waged for centuries has been going on amongst two mysterious sides, its assassins and soldiers continuously reincarnated throughout history. Many of these warriors go through whole portions of their lives without being activated. Some are activated sooner than others, and often at a young age.
As I’m sure you’ve pieced together by now, Mali’s just been activated, and it seems like someone is hunting her…
That’s the elevator pitch for Welcome Back.
Sebela and Sawyer clearly have an expansive world and story to unwrap, but they resist the urge to spell everything out in the first issue. Most of the time is spent developing Mali and slowly eking out small details of what the story holds for our protagonist. We don’t know the how and why’s of the war, the reincarnations, or why Mali has been specifically been targeted to those clearly in positions of import in said war. And I love that. It’s a fantastic pilot. We get enough intrigue, and Mali is developed well enough, readers will immediately get sucked in for #2 and beyond.
The conversation between artist and writer speaks volumes for this book. They dare to make large spreads with smaller panels to fill as much detail and exposition as the pages will allow. Double-page spreads never feel invasive to the reading experience and the pace remains consistent through the entire issue. Ever character, minor or not, feels fleshed out even if we don’t know everything bout them. No one feels completely archetypical or throwaway. Despite her sensational background even without the fantasy elements, Mali comes across as interesting and relatable to the reader. She may temporarily be the straight man, but Sayer and Sebela ensure she connects with the audience before kicking off what’s sure to be an insane adventure.
Immense credit also goes to Carlos Zamudio, the colorist for the book. Many books of this ilk tend to use a more muted palette. That may work in a book like Arcadia, but Welcome Back requires a more kinetic energy. His color choice is expertly executed with Sawyers heavy inks, adding a zestful pop that really brings this story to life. Zamudio’s work here serves as the perfectly lubricant to help maintain the pace and tone for this book.
Indie comic fans and fantasy lovers alike are going eat up this fantastic new series. Welcome Back is another slam dunk for Boom! As much as I loved and adored Archie #2, I passed the option to geek out about to my co-host so that I could make sure as many people hopped on this new book as possible.
Archie #2 from Mark Waid and Fiona Staples came out this week, and if you had told me a year ago today that I would be more excited about an Archie comic than almost every ‘superhero’ book combined I would have called you crazy. Archie was the hokey comic I read for one dollar growing up, only when DC or Marvel comics weren’t readily available. When this reboot of this classic character was announced I will be the first to admit that I was intrigued, though very skeptical: Would this be a fast and loose cash grab, pandering to the spectacle of an Archie dealing with iphones, twitter, and other modern teenage woes? Obviously our fears were alleviated last month with issue #1, and our patience in waiting for this title was awarded in spades. Today this book is the most exciting thing to happen to Archie comics ever, and has earned a spot at the top of your buy pile every month.
Last month Myles wrote about the down-right electric first issue that reintroduced the Riverdale gand for this generation, and I am continuing the review here for issue two. We get a few more perspectives here in this issue, but overall this issue just continues the mystery of the #LipstickIncident with Archie and Betty on the outs, and Jughead and the rest of their pals doing the best trying to keep their friends in high spirits amid the drama of the situation. We get to see (an albeit brief) introduction of Veronica to the series, and get to see some of the comedic chops of what should be an excellent comedy series with a lot of heart.
I really can’t speak to the art in this book and add anything constructive to the many reviews of Staple’s fine drawing. She is a pro at the top of her game and this book looks beautiful. As we said in the first issue her character designs and specifically their facial expressions give the ole’ Riverdale kids a depth of emotion that you’re not going to find in almost any other book (outside of Saga). The covers this issue were all really great and feature some really fun designs, I apologize if you are a collector, because it will be hard not to buy them all.
It is hard to rate this series right now because we are only two deep, but what I will say is this issue left
me wanting more than really any other book on the stands. When we got to the last page, I don’t think I have ever yearned for more content before than I have here. I need issue 3, and Chip Zdarsky‘s Jughead series out today and I need it in my hands bad. Even if you have never read Archie before, even if you typically only read stories with Capes and Cowls in it, and even if you’ve never picked up a comic book before in your life: READ ARCHIE. Buy it, love it, and wait impatiently, like me, for the next issue.