Home Sick Pilots is one of the most innovative, topsy-turvy, haunted-house-meets-teen-angst dramas you’ve ever read. That’s a fact. Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard continue to defy expectations while delivering meaningful character drama. The fourth issue is out this week and it features a hell of a turn in the story as Buzz has been empowered and neither he, the house, nor the reader know what the heck is going on. It’s a turning point issue you can’t miss.
This issue opens with some mysterious folks standing on what looks like a floor of televisions. Soon after, we’re cutting to the VHS tape monster from the previous issue still trying to kill Ami. She’s in a bad way and no longer certain of her abilities or advantage. That’s where Buzz comes in to save the day now that he’s been empowered by the haunted house with a suit of armor. It’s a wild concept that plays out in a superhero rushing to save the day sort of way.
What makes this go beyond just another superhero scene is how there are multiple aspects pulling strings on what we know. The mysterious horseshoe man and his goals, a new third party that seems to have their own goals, and on top of all that, Buzz learning Ami had no idea he was even looking for her. There’s plenty of action and intrigue, but what holds this together is the love Buzz has for Ami and vice versa. There’s a connection made here that makes the narrative work and makes you root for our heroes.
This is the most action-packed issue yet, and Wijngaard delivers on the visuals. The techno-organic suit Buzz wears is quite cool with a functional look that’s also bulky and monstrous. The videotape beast and horseshoe man continue to look cool, but unnerving. It’s not grotesque, but it’s twisted enough to feel uncomfortable.
Color continues to be rich and lively, with gradients that add a level of organic realism that’s quite cool. From sky to skin, you get a sense that what we’re seeing is of the natural world. Speaking of color, the use of white is quite interesting and seems to suggest there is a good vs. evil thing going on. Ami seems to radiate light at times and when she unleashed her power it’s always stark white. There are visual ideas going on that are telling another layer to the story.
Then there’s a banger of a double-page splash of the haunted house that calls back a previous topsy-turvy scene. This shot is chaotic, scary, and a reminder Ami is a victim herself. She may have come into power, but she’s still trapped.
The identity of this book continues to be one of many haunting things, of superheroism, and of friendships never forgotten. Whether this is so cutting edge it’s hard to pin down, or its identity seems to shift so much it’s not quite sure of itself, it’s difficult to know what it’s going for. For some that will be exciting, but it’s also tricky to fully immerse yourself in when there is so much we don’t yet know. This issue adds more mystery, which is a double-edged sword.
Home Sick Pilots is a comic series that makes you pay attention, makes you care, and defies expectations. It’s brilliantly original and a work you can’t look away from.
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