Writer: Julio Anta
Artist: Anna Wieszczyk
Colourist: Bryan Valenza
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
When I read Home #1 it was a real gut punch of a book. I am so glad that this next issue is also emotional and moving and absolutely well told. Poor Juan has escaped detention thanks to mysterious powers but he remains vulnerable as he is hunted down. Trying to survive in a world that doesn’t understand him, all he wants to do is go home but that’s something that is impossible.
Although Mercedes does appear (and what happens to her will make you angry and sad) this is really Juan’s book. This is his perspective on what’s going on, but at the same time his perspective on what happened before they made the journey to the USA. We see in flashbacks the deep love Mercedes has for her son, we see how scared Juan was, how unsure, and details of the event that precipitated Mercedes making the choice to move to another country.
There’s a lot of emotion in this book. There are some panels of Juan on his own contrasted with his memories of the time before that will just make your heart ache. Juan sheds a lot of tears but he’s not without his wits as he does manage to call for help. You can see that Mercedes taught her son well, giving him the information he needs to survive the trials life is throwing at him.
Of course the glowing fiery hands are something she couldn’t prepare him for. We see how the powers Juan has suddenly manifested are tied to his emotions giving us, the reader, a very obvious way to see the turmoil inside this poor young boy separated from his family, his home and everything he has ever known.
There’s also a moment later on in the book that really drives home the theme of immigration as we see how far anti-immigrant prejudice has gone and how no-one is safe. I don’t want to say more because you need to see those panels for yourself to get the real impact.
Every panel and piece of art is absolutely tying into the emotion of Juan’s story. The paler colours delineating flashbacks, letting us see a window into the past and giving the impression that these are Juan’s memories. Then there’s the facial expressions, from the fear and nervousness to the tears and outright sadness the art conveys all of Juan’s emotions so deeply you cannot help but be moved by them.
I don’t want to give too much away because this is a book that really needs it be experienced. The colouring and art really convey the story deeply. This is a child’s tale, an extraordinary child’s tale but one which emotionally you cannot help but be moved be. The reader really needs to dive in and experience it for themselves.
I did cry at some scenes in this book and yet I did get angry at others because there’s so much truth in here as well. There is some really good character work going on. It’s not about a kid with superpowers, it’s about a kid with superpowers who is an immigrant in a world which is hostile to immigrants. Juan’s journey continues and I am here for the emotional rollercoaster I am sure that will entail.
If you have not read issue #1 yet I encourage you to do so and then read this one. This is a book about superpowers for our times and it is telling us about more than just a young boy with firey fists.