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REVIEW: 'Home Sick Pilots' #2 by Dan Watters, Caspar Wijngaard, and Aditya Bidikar

The Old James House has lost its ghosts. With her new powers, it's up to Ami to bring them back...whether they want to come home or not. Even when they're really big ghosts wrapped in metal, with lots of sharp edges and things. HOME SICK PILOTS #2 Writer: Dan Watters Artist: Caspar Wijngaard Letterer: Aditya Bidikar  Designer: Tom Muller Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: January 13, 2021 Cover Price: $3.99 Score:  ★★★☆☆ (3/5) A powered-up ghostified Ami has been compelled to find the ghosts of The Old James House in the form of an enchanted horseshoe. Its current bearer isn't going to give it up so easily. Meanwhile, Ami's friends Buzz and Rip are left looking for answers about her whereabouts back at the house. The second issue of Home Sick Pilots from Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard takes a surprising turn as it defies the expectations of a haunted house story established in its debut. Issue one was a stellar debut that had a lot of energy from its young protago

REVIEW: 'Scout's Honor' #1 by David Pepose, Luca Casalanguida, and Matt Milla

Years after a nuclear apocalypse, a new society has risen from the ashes...and their bible is an old Ranger Scout manual.

A young Ranger Scout named Kit has endured the harsh survivalist upbringing needed to conquer the irradiated Colorado Badlands. But after discovering a terrible secret once lost to history, Kit must risk everything on a dangerous quest to uncover the truth behind the Ranger Scouts' doctrine.

From multiple Ringo Award-nominated writer David Pepose (Spencer & Locke, Going to the Chapel, The O.Z.) and artist Luca Casalanguida (James Bond, Lost Soldiers) comes a post-apocalyptic coming-of-age tale that proves when all you know is a lie, a Scout's Honor is the only way to move forward.


SCOUT'S HONOR #1

Writer: David Pepose

Artists: Luca Casalanguida, Matt Milla

Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

Publisher: Aftershock Comics

Release Date: January 6, 2021

Cover Price: $4.99

Score: ★★★★★ (5/5)


Dystopian stories in comics are fairly common and vary in quality. Some are too expansive sacrificing character development for action or too convoluted to follow with characters that are unlikeable and simply a chore to read. With 'Scout's Honor' from Aftershock Comics, writer David Pepose has found the perfect mix of action, world-building, and character work to make this new series a welcomed and engrossing entry into the dystopian genre that sets itself apart. 

As described, the world has gone to ruin from a nuclear war and the survivors have emerged with a new-found allegiance to the teachings found in an old Ranger Scout manual. Their deity is Doctor Jefferson Hancock whose tenets of the Scout code are sacrosanct. It's bred patriarchy within a survivalist cult and the young Kit is one of the best Scouts they got. Secrets abound, rival factions lurk nearby, and the world as they know it is about to be turned upside-down...again. It's one hell of a first issue. 

Pepose's pacing is great and all the information you need to know about who these characters are and what they stand for is interwoven naturally through the dialogue as a consequence of their actions. There's never a lull or unnecessary scene that feels heavy-handed. The good thing about religious zealots they love to talk and monologue so like vegans, cross-fitters, and atheists it doesn't take much prompting to get them to divulge their ideology. A lot happens in the first issue, the stakes are clearly laid out and Kit's motivations and ultimate burden are revealed. There's so much left to mull over after the final page and so much to look forward to.

Fueling this action-packed story is the art of Luca Casalanguida and Matt Milla. There's not a single bad panel. It's all so well designed and choreographed the story flows and the action pops. Milla brings some bright colors to what normally would be a dark shadowy desolate landscape of a dystopian future we're used to seeing. Instead, it's a fireworks show of eye-popping violence and action.  Carlos M. Mangual's lettering is exceptional and so varied throughout as the situations change. 

'Scout's Honor' is the perfect storm of a great concept supported by efficient writing and fantastic art. Pepose breathes new life in the dystopian genre creating an exciting new adventure full of action, drama, and surprises. It's been described as 'Mad Max' meets 'Mulan' and certainly echoes those films in ways but it's really an already fully formed blockbuster all its own. 


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