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What's the Furthest Place From Here? #5
Image Comics

Comic Books

‘What’s the Furthest Place From Here?’ #5 never loses passion, even when it’s a little confusing

The book continues to provide hook after hook to keep the reader joyfully coming back.

It might be a little hard to follow what’s going on in What’s the Furthest Place From Here?, the fifth issue of which lands this week, and though I don’t think that’s 100% by design, I don’t know that the book suffers for it.

For one, this issue is built to move fast. The chapters, a structural constant in the series, have been shortened, hectic, comic book equivalents of cinematic jump cuts. Fights have broken out, characters are in extreme danger, and the looming mystery continues to be teased without much evidence toward its solution. All this hectic action and narrative jumping make the issue harried, almost fevered, as the action ratchets upward.

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'What's the Furthest Place From Here?' #5 never loses passion, even when it's a little confusing
Classic carnival.
Image Comics

While our characters have never been free of danger, the claustrophobic setting of the Carnival, where a growing contingent of aggressive parties has gathered to confront our central characters, feels oppressive in its bizarre, twisted whimsy. The sense that our characters live in a forgotten world, where commonplace objects like records and videotapes have lost meaning but gained totemic purpose, is less apparent in the Carnival. Sure, midway games have turned malevolent (throwing darts at dolls’ heads, dunking booth execution chambers), but most of the action here feels more akin to Outsiders-style teenage violence than a world that has moved on.

What's the Furthest Place From Here? #5
S.E. Hinton, eat your heart out.
Image Comics

The main frustration is that the rapid action, on top of the nonstop introduction of characters, makes it hard to keep tabs on (or get to know) any of them. While we’ve got standouts Prufrock, Mallory, and Alabama with major moments, the victimized Oberon gets a bit lost in the shuffle, making his fate lose some of its power.

What's the Furthest Place From Here? #5
Even they’re confused.
Image Comics

At the heart of the story, however, is that ever-present threat of the Strangers, those ghastly creatures who seem to be enforcers of the new world of warring child tribes. They’ve become the face (er, faceless) of the larger mystery, the most tangible link to solving the mystery, and this issue puts them in the spotlight more than our protagonists, whose short bursts of action further confuse who’s who and what’s what.

What's the Furthest Place From Here? #5
They seem nice.
Image Comics

For all those minor quibbles, the book maintains a sense of grim hilarity and intrigue and feels driven with purpose. Rosenberg and Boss continue, ceaselessly, to put indelible passion and care into the series, which elevates it in a way that makes it one of the most exciting books on the stands. It’s hard not to love it when the love within is so apparent.

Combined with that love is a sense of something more magical and dreamlike intruding into the narrative at the issue’s climax, and the book continues to provide hook after hook to keep the reader joyfully coming back.

What's the Furthest Place From Here? #5
‘What’s the Furthest Place From Here?’ #5 never loses passion, even when it’s a little confusing
What's the Furthest Place From Here? #5
Even as the innumerable characters are becoming harder and harder to keep track of, Furthest Place #5 is a book filled with care and catchy, catchy mystery.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.9
Delightful sense of humor among all that doom.
A loving work by a deeply invested creative team.
A compelling mystery wrapped up in cool kid angst.
Becoming a little hard to track its many moving parts.
7.5
Good
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