What better time for a comic called Go Home than Thanksgiving week? Out November 24th from Alterna comics and set during World War II, there’s a deeply meaningful and heartbreaking tale to be had here, but is it good?
Go Home (Alterna Comics)
So what’s it about? The full summary reads:
The story follows a young sailor, Husk, as he washes up on a secluded Pacific island during WW2 after his boat is torpedoed. Once on the island, Husk finds the horrors of war have followed him and learns firsthand how it can cloud the minds of those who wage it.
Why does this book matter?
The human condition is something we don’t always see in comic books and instead action and plot are focused on much more. Not so here, as the humanity of a man is tested and the results are very disturbing.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Everything seems calm…
Writer Dan Hill bookends this issue with the same quiet train stop as friends and families see off their young boys to war. The characters are reserved, on edge, and not so happy to see a mysterious person sitting on a bench. The story quickly cuts to a sinking ship and a young man attempting to stay alive. The story spends most of its time on a deserted jungle island with the young man as he attempts to hang on to his humanity as he encounters the horrors of war. That includes attempting to stay alive in a kill or be killed situation.
The story is haunting in many ways, in part because Hill captures deeply meaningful and poetic captions. As the protagonist attempts to stay alive you get a clear look into the war that’s going on internally for the character. He becomes more angry, upset, and desperate and it keys in on the anguish many soldiers went through. To help aid in the breakdown of this poor soul’s mind, Hill and Herbst use an interesting technique where words in the captions get crossed out. It gives you a sense of doubt and uncertainty in the characters’ thoughts that adds another layer.
The ending, which I didn’t see coming, has a deeply meaningful message that reminds us the war at home has its own battles. It’s a nice touch as it reminds us an internal struggle can be found where you may not expect it and that ultimately we all need to be good to each other.
The art by Andrew Herbst has a mixture of illustrative and cartoony styles that is quite good at allowing the painful moments to resonate. I wasn’t a big fan of some burn marks on the character later in the issue, but overall the mood and atmosphere is spot on. The general layouts work well, keeping the story moving forward and the internal struggle reflected in the surroundings and characters.
War is hell.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a bit of a twist at the end of the issue involving a character you see early on and I was left a bit confused. The general idea is obvious, but the way the character covers their eyes made me not 100% sure who they were. I say no more to avoid spoilers, but it left me uncertain in the wrong sort of way.
Is It Good?
Deeply meaningful, Go Home captures the brutality of humanity in more ways than one. Most importantly, this issue offers a story that will make you think about the human condition.
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