The title starts coming into play this time around, and it’s as depressing and realistic as I figured. There’s a lot happening this time around, which I’ll get to in a minute, but there’s also the constant background noise of another school shooting being covered. As the comic goes on we learn more about what happened, who died, how even a former army veteran wasn’t able to stop the rampage… and nobody involved in the story bats an eye. Nobody acknowledges it, nobody seems to change their behavior at all, it’s just an accepted part of the background. Which is a damned accurate summation of the general American opinion on mass shootings in 2020, grim and hopeless though it may be. A lot of the rest of the comic is just regular life going on, so we get Milo going to visit his grandma and his (maybe mildly autistic?) brother, watching cartoons and eating dinner, while Melvin flashes back once again to his days in the war before trying to get out of speaking to a veteran’s group. Once again I feel like I’m not accurately conveying the complexity of what’s happening, but you’ve read some of Alex’s books by now, so you know what he’s capable of, right? He’s also gotten really good over the years at panel angles (is that a term?), of keeping a static scene looking dynamic through different areas of focus and perspective. Give it a shot, or if you’re lucky maybe if you wait a few years he’ll put this whole thing into a collected edition. Meanwhile, this one is $8.
It’s not what you’re thinking based on that title! Or it’s probably not what you’re thinking, anyway. I can’t read your mind. The first issue deals mostly with Milo (a ten year old boy) and Mel (an eighty year old neighbor). I got the ages from Alex’s website, but they’re probably mentioned in here somewhere and I just missed them. Anyway, Mel has made a gun for Milo that shoots rubber bands. He mostly uses the gun to shoot at his action figures, with a points system that they use when playing together. Mel is clearly Milo’s confidante; after Milo accidentally breaks a window Mel coves for him. We also see glimpses of Mel’s time as a soldier when he was much younger, including one particularly heartbreaking scene that’s going to play a bigger role later. Says I, like I know what Alex has in mind. It would be an odd thing to never mention again, how about that? We also meet Milo’s younger neighbor (in kindergarten, she’s clearly adores Milo) and a older boy who seems like a perfect bully stereotype, but he hasn’t done any bullying yet, so maybe he’s just a large child. There’s a lot in this first issue to make me want to see what happens in a second issue, so I’d say it’s a successful first issue. $8