Home Sick Pilots is a new ongoing Image Comics series from writer Dan Watters and artist Caspar Wijngaard. Please enjoy our review of the second issue.
For those unfamiliar with this new series, let me first suggest that you check out the first issue before reading any further. This comic book is unlike anything I’ve ever read, and it deserves to be appreciated on it’s own merits. You can purchase both issues at your local comic shop or through Comixology.
The story is a wholly unique genre-bending ghost story set in the 1990’s, told through the lens of the juvenile Ami and her punk rock band, Home Sick Pilots. Buzz and Rip are her best friends and bandmates, and their dynamic, chemistry and dialogue feel wholly authentic. The entertainment industry tends to have a difficult time portraying the youth of the nation as genuine and realistic, so it’s a breath of fresh air when storytellers get it just right.
Ami has suffered a rather tragic past, as I would assume her friends have as well. Only her backstory is explored thus far, though I’m sure future issues will dive into the history of the other two Home Sick Pilots. We learn that Ami lost her mother, leading her into a psychotic break. She describes her life immediately after that loss as hollow, empty, filled with nothingness.
HOME SICK PILOTS IS A 10/10 ONGOING SERIES
Anyone who has lost someone close to them knows this painful feeling all too well. Personally, I could see a lot of myself in our hero Ami, from her rebellious nature to her search for belonging and her hope. This is a very emotionally driven story, and it does feature some violent and potentially triggering panels. The darkness is undercut with a subtle feeling of hope, both for the future and for the redemption of the individual.
At the end of Home Sick Pilots #1, we saw Ami infused with ghost-like abilities. After breaking into the town’s local haunted house, Ami disappeared, only to resurface at the apartment of a stranger brandishing the house’s possessed horseshoe. This plot thread is picked up in stunning fashion, specifically with an intense occult confrontation as visually magnificent as it is emotionally devastating.
While the story alone would carry this book, comics are a visual medium and this series delivers a feast for the eyes. Winjgaard’s artwork calls to mind the superhero movie Archenemy, as both utilize very vibrant, neon blues, purples and pinks to give the story a very cosmic, ethereal atmosphere.
HOME SICK PILOTS IS LIKE “POWER RANGERS MEETS THE SHINING”
On top of that, I cannot express just how in love I am with the character designs, especially that of the ghosts. The being within the horseshoe, like Ami herself, alternates between two forms in this issue. Four different ghostly beings have appeared thus far, and six more are promised towards the conclusion. If you like paranormal horror blended with science-fiction adventure, you’d be hard pressed to find a comic more tailored to your taste.
The narrative structure isn’t wholly linear or traditional, and neither is the artwork. Throughout both issues, there are pages of pure inky blackness only lightened by Ami’s narration. Experimental storytelling is the name of the game in Home Sick Pilots, and that’s visible in the artwork as well as the written word.
I cannot speak enough praise for Wijngaard and Watters’ new series. Normally, I like to throw in at least one or two criticisms in my reviews, regardless of how much I enjoyed that story. But I’ve spent a good long time combing through Home Sick Pilots #2, and I have yet to find a single element that disappointed me or felt out of place.
Home Sick Pilots #2, written by Dan Watters and illustrated by Caspar Wjingaard, is on sale now. Let us know your thoughts on this comic book in the comments below or on our social media!