Author Christopher Sebela, Illustrations Jonathan Brandon Sawyer
This is the spoiler free review for Welcome Back volumes 1 and 2. There is no spoiler full review this time due to the length of the books.
Welcome Back is a two volume graphic novel series by Christopher Sebela.
It’s about an ancient battle that many fight but none can recall why.
Mali is the step daughter of a famous serial killer and has been trying to get away from her violent infamy her whole life.
That is, until she discovers that violence is her destiny.
She is a sequel. A sequel is a soldier. Born over and over again throughout history to find and eliminate another sequel. The two soldiers are tied together by the fates and are destined to find and murder each other over and over again. Kind of like soul mates but with war instead of love.
Mali is determined not to kill anyone in this lifetime. She will not play into this game. She will break the cycle even if it means finally losing her life for good.
Her sequel counter-part has different plans. She still fully buys into the war and has been training this whole lifetime to find and destroy Mali just so that they can do it all over again in the next life for the rest of eternity.
They come face to face at the end of the first volume and without spoiling it too much, hopefully, their trajectory is changed in a way that those monitoring this ancient war never predicted.
“Not a love story.” That’s how Welcome Back is described on the back of the first volume.
That might give you a hint that it’s actually very much a love story. Just not a traditional one.
As with any love story there is drama, fighting, sex, lots of sex, more sex, and problems with family.
Although the characters are centuries old assassins there is much to relate to in this book. If you’ve ever experienced a relationship that started as a powerful passion more than any logical reason to be together you can see how these two are drawn together. It’s more chemical than anything else.
There is a humor and sarcasm in the book provided mostly by the character of Mali’s step-father. Mali’s step father is also a sequel. One that isn’t so good at flying under the radar. His ostentatious murder scenes got him executed as a serial killer.
Now he’s been reincarnated as a young girl and runs away to coach Mali. The soul of a murderous adult man in the body of a 10 year old girl provides a levity to balance the violence in this book. Of which there is plenty.
The art is vibrant with primary colors but I sometimes found the appearance of Mali to be inconsistent. Confusingly so.
Additionally, there were some issues with formatting. Most of the pages read like a normal comic book but the book would randomly have a two page spread that required you to read across the top of two pages before going to the bottom and I got lost every single time that happened.
The ending was a little vague to me, almost like they weren’t quite sure how to wrap it up so just left a lot of questions unanswered.
Overall I enjoyed the relationships and action in this book and would definitely recommend it.
This is a more modern love story, one that involves an ancient war and unexplained magic. But it’s also a encouragement of finding your strength and those that enable you to be the best you can be.
Always question authority. Never blindly follow tradition. Find your soul mate.
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Buy Volume 1 here: Welcome Back Vol. 1 (1)
Buy Volume 2 here: Welcome Back Vol. 2 (2)