Originally posted on Capeless Crusader on September 2, 2015.
What happens when you mix Highlander, Assassins Creed, and any slice of life story? You get BOOM! Studios newest series, Welcome Back.
Welcome Back by writer Christopher Sebela and artist Jonathan Brandon Sawyer, centers on Mali Quinn, a troubled 26-year-old woman who is just out of college, has little money, no job, suffers depression, has relationship trouble, is being stalked, is harassed constantly by “fanboys” of her deceased stepdad who was a serial killer, and is plagued by dreams from her past reincarnated lives. Mali is a “solider” a person who has been constantly reincarnated over the centuries to be a warrior to fight in some kind of war that we know nothing about so far. She is not the only one like this since in all of her past lives, she was always killed in battle by her nemesis named Miss Voss this time who is currently hunting her down again since fate always seems to pit these two together.
This is a pretty solid first issue. The lore and back story that we have received so far about Mali, Voss, and their previous incarnations is really fascinating and makes me curious about what else there is to their history like, “why are these two always so drawn to each other and are they going to kill each other again, or, will things be different this time around”? It just raises too many questions that I am now eager to know the answers.
Mali herself is a pretty relatable character and has all the right angst for all the right reasons. She is out of school, unemployed, and has some bad relationships. Her problems feel like real concerns that someone around that age range would have and it does not come off as annoying. I feel this especially speaks to someone like me, since I’m also in the same place in my life as her right now. Although the fact that she gets mail from creepy people who like her just for being related to a serial killer doesn’t really help her outlook on life. Speaking of that part, I personally would have preferred it if they had showed us something about that piece of her back story instead of just telling us about it several times. I also didn’t like how exposition heavy the story could be at some points. Aside from those things and my nitpicks, I like Mali so far and I look forward to seeing how her character evolves throughout the series.
The art complements the story perfectly. All of the characters including the animals, all have a unique look to them especially Mali who is a really detailed looking character. Not only does the modern setting look incredible, but the opening scene with the two samurai preparing to do battle in feudal Japan and the splash pages showing the brief history of several of Mali’s and Voss’s past lives from various time periods all look gorgeous and shows just how much artistic range Sawyer has in a mostly modern setting.
Welcome Back #1 may not be all that much of an original concept but it manages to execute everything so well in its first outing. The lore, characters, art, and story make it really stand out and does a great job of getting the readers interested in what is going to happen next. Definitely a great start to a promising looking series.
Welcome Back #1 earns 8.5 out of 10