Writer: Dan Watters
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Lettered: Aditya Bidikar
Designer: Tom Muller
Production Artist: Erika Schnatz
Last issue, Buzz, Rip and Old James set out to track down the final ghost that had been taken from the Old James House; we also got some hints that James knew more about everything than he was letting on. This issue gives us some answers.
This month we only spend the first couple of pages focusing on Ami and Meg’s titanic battle, long enough for us to know they’ve been fighting for days while the world watches on, seemingly with no clue how to intervene. From there we catch up with Buzz, Rip and Old James as they hop across the country, Incredible Hulk style, in pursuit of one last ghost. That journey leads them to the town of St. Pio, a town that was unfortunate enough to be the home of a facility that predates System Disrupt.
I say it a lot, but honestly I don’t want to give away too much about this issue, if you’ve been keeping up with the series this is an issue you should absolutely prioritise reading this week. There’s such an excellent blend of elements: Buzz and Rip catching up after being apart for almost an entire arc provides some of the teenage drama and character work that’s been prevalent throughout the series, whereas Old James showing Buzz what happened in St. Pio fills in some blanks in the house’s history and also hints at the relationship between the Old James House and the Nuclear Bastard.
Caspar Wijngaard’s art is phenomenal. While the majority of this issue is in his usual style, we’re also treated to a flashback sequence with a rougher mostly monochromatic quality which works wonderfully as a look into the past. Expressions and emotions have always been well portrayed, but I feel like there’s a special shoutout needed this issue for Old James’ expressions, it’s not easy to show what a ghost with only half a face is feeling, but Caspar never fails to do so. The textures and colouring throughout are really well done, particularly in the pages of Rip wandering the tunnels beneath the town alone, a terrifying section of the issue on it’s own made all the creepier.
Aditya Bidikar’s lettering is on point throughout the issue, using pastel speech bubbles at times which continues Wijngaard’s colouring in panels without backgrounds. There’s also a sharpness to Old James’ dialogue that fit well with his, still mysterious, character. I also liked that the lettering in the flashback is faded and more washed out than in the rest of the issue.
It’s often the case that I run out of things to say about an issue of Home Sick Pilots. It’s challenging to find new ways to tell you how good a series this is. This has been a standout issue for me, and honestly I cannot recommend Home Sick Pilots enough.