REVIEW: 'Home Sick Pilots' #5 by Dan Watters, Caspar Wijngaard, and Aditya Bidikar

 The Old James House turns on Ami. If she can't conquer her own demons, how can she expect to conquer those that haunt its hallways? Perhaps demons aren't for conquering. Perhaps we must fight alongside them...  

The house fistfights a monster is what we're getting at, in the END OF OUR FIRST STORY ARC.


Writer: Dan Watters

Artist: Caspar Wijngaard

Letterer: Aditya Bidikar

Designer: Tom Muller

Production Artist: Erika Schnatz

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: April 14, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99


★★★★☆ (4/5)

'Home Sick Pilots' has been one of the most exciting and equally frustrating comic book experiences of the year. It has all the elements of a breakout hit. The '90s setting, punk rock teens, a haunted house, ghosts, videotape monsters(?), and epic battles. What's been hard to digest is the unclear narrative throughout the series. I don't blame writer Dan Watters, it may just be my lack of comprehension or understanding of the events that are taking place. What's not in question is the amazing art designed by Caspar Wijngaard. The amount of detail and creativity along with some gorgeous color palettes make this comic one of the best illustrated in the business. 

What began as a haunted house that consumed its victim into an inescapable interdimensional world within its walls and killed when it felt like it became a sentient being yearning for objects that it once held. It possessed Ami to retrieve those items but came face to face with an opposing force in the shape of a monster made of videotape. The Old James house not only killed the Pilot's rival bandmates it empowered Buzz with special powers to help Ami. It's been a crazy roller coaster ride in storytelling that is so ambitious it's confusing. Now, realizing that the house has been using her Ami has had enough and is taking back her identity. It's another fantastic sequence that Wijngaard creates with a jaw-dropping transformation and battle that is as big as any we've seen in the series thus far. 

One thing I've enjoyed and truly understood about this story of friends in a band torn apart by a supernatural home and its demons is the bond they share. Ami and Buzz provided the most heartfelt moments as he continued to search for her and ultimately did in amazing fashion. They circled each other at times unable to break the wall between the ghost world and reality. They were not aware of each other's attempt of making contact. The House purposely hid Buzz's attempts from Ami which added to her frustration and breaking point. For me, this storyline made all the craziness worthwhile. 

Unfortunately, the band's reunion isn't as cheerful as I would have liked. It does transition to yet another crazy turn involving the sudden emergence of some government agency. Look, I don't know what's going on but it's interesting. It seems some of those superhero aspirations sprinkled in the series is getting a more serious turn as this arc ends. It's going to pit these friends at odds and we're looking at some Pacific Rim-type showdowns or something. 

'Home Sick Pilots' #5 ends the first arc in one dazzling display of supernatural fireworks that is at once eye-popping and head-scratching. Watters and Wijngaard's ambitious, audacious, and confounding series evolves into a potent horror-action-superhero-monster hybrid epic. Despite all the questions I still have about what the hell just happened it's oddly entertaining. So bottom line: something, something, buy this book!



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