Six ghosts to find, but are they all tied to the house? Home Sick Pilots #3 ADVANCE REVIEW

Writing: Dan Watters, Art: Casper Wijngaard, Letters: Aditya Bidikar.

It’s been a week since the kids have gone missing from school. The police are now calling students individually for questioning, to find out who knows more about the missing students. Buzz still uses his spare time to look for Ami, while also trying to find Rip, after he had a rather brutal interaction with a police officer. Although buzz finds Rip, both Rip and Ami are lost to him. Meanwhile Ami is continuing her mission to search for the lost “ornaments” with ghostly ties to the house, which she now suspects is purposely leading her away from Buzz. Although with so many ghosts to find, are they all tied to the house? Or are they even as willing to politely be escorted back if they are?

This issue was very intriguing; its lack of action actually helped it push the character arcs more. With such a medium as comics, there’s a fine line to walk. Keep pushing forward with character arcs too much, and the lack of action may cause the audience to start to lose interest in the story. Have too much action and plot drives, and you face potentially switching the audience off due to lack of empathy with the characters. This series has managed to do both in each issue so far; this issue was the first to have more of a character driven focus. Something that Dan Watters excelled at with his Coffin Bound. The focus I’d say is on Buzz, where he gets the sense that both friends are lost but in vastly differing ways. Ami is being manipulated by the haunted house to fetch the haunted items, whereas Rip is lost mentally. He is hanging around a punk gang under a bridge just doing drugs and not caring about life or anyone around him. Despite his choice to do so, you never feel like he’s a bad person, it’s just he’s had to deal with a lot, so the empathy from the reader's perspective is there because we have had the character growth in the first two issues. I may have said it before, but this is where I feel Dan Watters excels in his writing. The character depth is great and you don’t need an action heavy issue to be satisfied. The characters he’s created are never black has white, always grey, which helps round them out as human. Even if this series didn’t have the action or promise of great action, it would still be a great character study book through the rock band nostalgia of the '90s.

The artwork within the book is also a treat, keeping both consistent and of high quality is something to revel at. The way Casper Wijngaard uses the dusk and the play on light is just beautiful. Also very German Expressionist in using silhouettes and shadows to loom over characters and make them feel small in his panel layout. For examples of this see films such as Murnau's Nosferatu (1922).

I’ve also become fascinated at how the team use black panels and pages. To make either short statements to add a little humour to the book, or to push the narrative with short sentences that add to what has come before.

This is without a doubt, the coolest series out at the moment. The characters are 3 dimensional and interesting and it’s got a great premise. With this being such a heavy issue on character, it makes me think the next issue will be heavy on the action. With Ami desperate to go back to normal life and Buzz in the house again looking for her. It’s set itself up nicely for a very good penultimate issue in the first arc.

Home Sick Pilots #3 will be released on 10th Feb from Image Comics, your local comic shop, as well as comixology

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