Trade Waiter Double Issue – We Can Never Go Home and Birthright
We Can Never Go Home
I picked up this book because I was drawn to the strange, spare covers. One in particular shows a shopping cart full of improvised weapons, and it hints at a book that balances the silly invincible feeling of being a teenager with a grim real world. We Can Never Go Home tell a story of super powers, high school in the 80s, and robbing drug dealers. It combines genres and styles. The wild story is grounded in reality by the art. Wal-marts and cheap motels look real, even when they share pages with bullets bouncing off our heroes.
We Can Never Go Home is a teen romance, adventure, superhero story by Mathew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon and Josh Hood. The characters are distinct, feel real, and demand your sympathy. The story elements are familiar at times, but the mix is what makes the book feel original. If you’ve ever felt like an underdog or made a mix tape, you’ll probably like this book.
Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan’s Birthright is a mostly frustrating fantasy action book. It follows the adventures of a boy transported to a magical world, only to return home a year later, inexplicably full-grown and magical with Mr. Universe pecs and on a quest to save the world. The concept of a book that’s split evenly between magical fantasy and our mundane world has promise, but the slow expository dialogue and the predictable, lumbering plot keeps that promise from getting fulfilled.
Every time a character speaks, it seems as if he’s just trying to tell the reader something the reader needs to know to understand the story. The fish-out-of-water scenario offers a lot of opportunity for humor, but what jokes there are, are either right on the nose or not fully formed. Birthright yoyos from silly to grim, but can’t manage to pull off either. The whiplash changes in tone make it hard to find things funny. Unlike in We Can Never Go Home, the styles clash instead combining to create something more interesting. A page of jokes about post-traumatic stress syndrome provide a good example of an idea that could have been explored in an interesting way rather than being tossed into the story in a half-baked way. I would not recommend this book.