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‘Come Again’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by Nate Powell
Published by Top Shelf Comics

 

Nate Powell remains at the top of my list of favorite creators currently in the comic book field. I loved his book March, of course. It’s an incredible achievement by itself. Yet, I’ve always preferred his more personal works like Any Empire and Swallow Me Whole.

His personal works have always been a bit strange. So with this book, Powell may have hit upon his best work yet. And I assure you, it’s his strangest one to date.

I had a hard time getting into it at first, to be honest. It took me three times. A lot of that had to do with traveling a lot, but I wanted to give this book the attention it was due.

What threw me off initially is that this book is different from anything Powell has done before.

The opening few pages feel like something out of a Terrence Malick film. They are more poetic than I was used to.

This shows however how confident Powell has become.

He bravely tries something new. Once I was ready to read it, it just hooked me and never let me go. Powell has a way of getting the reader caught up in the world he is creating. It’s one that is like the real world, but is full of magical realism.

This book takes place in a hippie commune in the seventies. The world has felt the effects of the sixties and this is one of the last remaining communes out there. They are stationed in the Ozarks or an alternative version of it.

The book focuses on a young single mother named Haluska in this community. From the very beginning, when we are introduced to her, it’s completely unnerving. And it just gets weirder. One particularly strange scene has Hal’s son cutting her hair. She asks if there were any more white creatures coming out. She says she didn’t see anymore. The son, Jake, stops and says that they are gone. But there wasn’t anything in her hair to begin with.

What are they talking about? Stick around. It pays off, I promise.

From there we are introduced to a whole slew of concepts. Jake and one of his friends go exploring in the woods and come across something deadly there. There’s lovers meeting in the same woods. There’s also flashbacks to simpler times. Somehow, Powell keeps the story in focus always in how these characters and events relate to each other. He juggles it all brilliantly.

The ending in particular is unlike anything I have ever read. It will haunt me for a long time to come. This isn’t just a book you read. It’s a book you experience.

The art has amazing brushwork from Powell. It serves the story amazingly and it’s incredibly how each page is a work of art, yet keeps the story moving. Powell kills it here with this book. He’s a true artist, prolific as hell, and deserves his name up there with the greats. This is amongst his best work.

RATING: A

 

 

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