Review - We Can Never Go Home #1

"Everyone at school is going to hear about you, freak!"

The high school experience is far from enjoyable all the way. There are moments you probably look back on fondly and others you look back on and shudder. High school experiences generally have a long-lasting effect on their targets and can sometimes even bring together seemingly disparate individuals. In We Can Never Go Home #1 from Black Mask Studios, two harrowing incidents seem poised to link to students from opposite ends of the social spectrum. The issue is written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon, illustrated by Josh Hood, colored by Amanda Scurti and lettered by Jim Campbell.

While casually working on target practice in an abandoned field, Duncan stumbles upon Madison and her boyfriend. Said boyfriend is getting a little too frisky, prompting Madison to beat him into submission in a slightly unique way. Duncan witnesses the whole thing and an awkward friendship between the two is born, one fraught with high school conversations and mix-tapes. Duncan and Madison both have secrets and more in common than they'd like to admit.

We Can Never Go Home #1 is more than just another high school drama where the nerd is in love with the popular high school girl. Instead, Rosenberg and Kindlon have crafted something much more intricate and jarring, presenting a bond between Duncan and Madison that thrives on complexity. The dialogue shared between the two feels cool, with Duncan subtly making advances at Madison (wearing her down in some regards) and Madison demonstrating a clear curiosity at Duncan's mysterious approach to life. It's through these exchanges that the reader fully understands what's going on and the stakes couldn't be higher by the end of the issue. The two leads are outcasts and their status in life isn't made any better as a result of the events in We Can Never Go Home #1.

There's a very unique style found in Hood's linework that makes We Can Never Go Home #1 feel even more unique. His characters feel detailed and alive, while also evincing a little bit of 90s high school vibe. This vibe is captured beautifully in the body language of the characters as the navigate the often unforgiving high school landscape. Hood's style even boasts a pop art appeal in his layouts and presentation of character appearances. The atmosphere of their world is suffused by somber tones from Scurti that feel especially pronounced when she relies on purples and browns.

We Can Never Go Home #1 is a book that's both beautiful and painful. It elicits a reaction in the reader of nostalgia sprinkled with trauma, as anyone who's experienced high school knows it's not easy to deal with at times. The story by Rosenberg and Kindlon is given room to breathe and doesn't trip over itself in the set-up, relying on Duncan's confidence in what he is to carry his burgeoning relationship with Madison. The art work is top-notch and adds another dimension to the work, positioning the reader to be completely immersed in the situation much like Duncan and Madison are. We Can Never Go Home #1 is a fantastic read that engenders a genuine response in the reader akin to reminiscing; although it's likely their memories don't involve superpowers.

We Can Never Go Home #1 is in stores March 25.