Hello and welcome to another patented AP2HYC indy comic book review! Today we have a special one for all you vagabonds of the sequential art medium out there; a book that shows us that “home” isn’t always where we might expect, and that sometimes what we thought made us strange is exactly what makes us fit into the world. Yes, today we will be taking a look at writer/creator Todd Black‘s Home #2! For those of you that haven’t read the first issue of Home and would like to catch up, check out our review here. Now then, let’s get into issue #2 of Home. Spoilers ahead!
Home #2 takes places right where the first issue left off, as Elysia finds herself teleported to a strange new world called Altaria after she discovers that she has the ability to manipulate and repair “code.” Altaria is a far cry from Elysia’s home city on Earth (of course, if Altaria isn’t Earth), and looks exactly like a medieval kingdom you might see in a fantasy genre book. Elysia is immediately thrust right smack in the middle of a battle between the Knights and the Schrief, which are beasts that like to come along and attack the people of Altaria.
During the battle we get to see the Knights using all sorts of futuristic looking medieval weaponry, which may seem like an oxymoron, but it works very well and I found it to be quite interesting. Shortly after the battle, Elysia meets Garnon, Sonia, and the rest of the Knights who are sworn to protect Altaria from the Schrief. It is at this point that Elysia learns she isn’t the only one who can interact with “code.”
Sonia takes Elysia to a chamber that houses a mystical, electrical looking pad that is powered by the code. When Elysia stands on the pad, a suit of armor forms around her. Pretty freakin’ sweet! Sonia then explains the Knights’ purpose and that the strange abilities Elysia possesses are that of which the Knights call an “architect.” With a newfound sense of purpose, Elysia sets off to…repair some code in Altaria. Yup, Sonia doesn’t waste any time putting poor ol’ Elysia to work! Don’t worry though, the Schrief also waste no time doubling down on their promise of Altaria’s destruction and they soon return just in time for Elysia to show off her skills!
After another battle Sonia fills Elysia in on all the drama that goes on between the Knights. The “warriors,” who are led by Garnon, and Sonia’s architects don’t always see eye to eye. Sure, they do what needs to be done as a unit, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that the tension between Garnon and Sonia may eventually lead to some problems. Anyhoo, Garnon comes along and insists, to Sonia’s dismay, that Elysia be shown a mysterious artifact. Apparently Garnon puts a lot of faith in this artifact, despite not actually knowing what it does, which seems to bug Sonia quite a bit. When Elysia is exposed to the artifact, it has a profound effect on her and we are left with a cliffhanger ending leading into Home #3.
Right off the bat, Home #2 sets itself apart from the first issue. From the new setting, to the cast of characters, it seems like this is a series that can potentially deliver some epic moments. Now admittedly, some of my favorite elements of this issue of Home were the ones that appeared to be possibly inspired by video games. First off you have the two groups within the Knights: the warriors and the architects. This reminded me of some role playing games where the members of your party all performed different tasks to function as a whole unit. Then of course, there are the Knights “special attacks.” When Garnon uses his in the battle with the Schrief he loses his armor, which of course presents a problem as he was more vulnerable to injury (or…gasp…death!). As an aside, this really made me think of all those hours I spent on Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, a game in which the player character, Arthur, loses his armor upon being attacked. …I’ll never get those broken controllers back…
But enough about me and my incompetence! The artwork in Home is a joint effort between Dinh Nguyen who handles pencils and inks, and Beth Varni who does the coloring. Everything in this book is pretty darn polished looking, and the colors are soft and bright. This was odd for me at first, as normally I would expect a more “lived in” look in a medieval world, but that’s just my own programming from years of fantasy genre exploration. What we get here is an entirely fresh look for Altaria, and it helps to set the book apart from countless other fantasy fictions. Personally, I think it turned out swell.
The creative team of Home also consists of Zakk Samm who takes care of the lettering, and artists Alfred Trujillo, CJ Marsh, and Cara Nicole who provide some variant covers for the issue. It’s worth mentioning that colorist Varni also contributed to the variants; I wouldn’t want to leave her out of the mix.
Black’s recent Kickstarter for Home #3 was a smashing success, which means we should have some new stories coming our way. With so many questions left unanswered, we have to wonder: will Elysia return to her own world? What are the Schrief, and do they have a leader? I wondered why the Schrief would relentlessly attack Altaria, which is something I am convinced we will learn shortly. I’d also like to see the Schrief attack Elysia’s home world for some modern day, monster mayhem!
For more information about Home and Black’s other projects visit his official website. If you would like some more insight into the creation of Home, you can also check out our recent interview with him. Personally I think Home is shaping up to be an excellent, genre-spanning book, so I would urge comic fans to go ahead and check it out.
What did you think of Home #2? Are you ready for the next installment? Let us know in the comments section and on our Twitter!