REVIEW: 'Home' #2 by Julio Anta, Anna Wieszczyk, and Bryan Valenza

 After the heartbreaking first issue that introduced us to Juan and his mother Mercedes, the two have been separated at the U.S.-Mexico border after their arduous journey from Guatemala. Juan unintentionally broke out of the detention center he was at when his superpowers began to emerge. Now on the run and Mercedes still in custody, Juan has to seek help from his aunt in the states or risk being caught and sent back to detention. 


HOME #2

Writer: Julio Anta
Artist: Anna Wieszczyk, Bryan Valenza
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: May 19, 2021
Cover Price: $3.99

Juan is on the run. Shaken from the trauma of being separated from his mother, the sudden emergence of superhuman abilities, and an accidental jailbreak,  he has two options: track down his aunt in Houston or learn to survive on his own.

Score:
★★★★☆ (4/5)

Julio Anta's melancholy but hopeful 'Home' focuses on Juan in issue two. The first issue did a fantastic job of not just dramatizing the plight of many immigrants who seek asylum in the U.S. but humanizing people like Juan and his mother Mercedes. And the point I took from the debut issue was what I already knew, migrants are seeking a safe harbor from the violence at home and are willing to risk everything to go through the process of asylum here in this country. They're not diseased, or criminals, or thugs, or monsters. They're human beings facing an authoritative American government that dehumanizes them by implementing a "zero policy" that is intentionally cruel. We see it through the eyes of Juan and Mercedes giving them a name and a face behind the headlines, behind the political rhetoric. 'Home' just so happens to be about superpowers also and Juan is adjusting to that reality as well. 

Juan escapes the detention center and must run through a forest while evading detention officers. There's this sense of anxiety and dread that hangs in the air through most to the issue. As long as Juan is on the run he's vulnerable, alone, and lost. The fear and sadness Juan feels is written all over his face. He goes through a roller coaster of emotions. He misses his mother, he doesn't know English, he's afraid of the police, he wants to reach his aunt. 

Anna Wieszczyk captures all these feelings in the expressive doleful look on his face. Wieszczyk's style while a little cartoony for the subject matter balances that with a versatility to create great designs and capture the heart of each scene. From Juan's breakdown at the mall, to the indifference of border officials with Mercedes, to the joy of reaching Aunt Gladys, Wieszczyk never misses making moments impactful. Bryan Valenza's color-rich palette sometimes bright scenes juxtapose the dour situations however the contrasts in tone with the flashbacks are very well done. 

'Home' #2 champion's the spirit of immigrants, Latinos specifically, to persevere in the face of dehumanizing cruelty. Issue two adds important context to the origins of Juan and Mercedes' journey from Guatemala and his sudden powers. It's infuriating, sad, inspiring, hopeful, and compelling. 'Home' will make you feel something as it mixes cold reality with the fantastical.   


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