Posted March 11, 2014 by Nicolo Parungo in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: The Returning #1 – Will You Be Back For More?

The Returning

Company: BOOM! Studios

Writer: Jason Staar

Artist: Andrea Mutti

 To be honest, it’s a bit hard for me to express my thoughts on The Returning; the first issue (out of four) has some great art by Andrea Mutti that fits the dark setting that this book clearly wants to achieve. However there’s nothing about the book that will make it stand out from the other Horror titles out there, and its premise is too familiar for comfort.

Let’s get the Elephant out of the room quickly; the hook or gimmick that The Returning relies on is too much like Tim Seeley’s Revival for Image Comics, the dead – well the near dead – somehow come back to life and some of them start killing people for no particular reason. If there’s anything that (barely) salvages this book from being a rip-off (aside from the NEAR dead part) it’s the weird process of death here that involves being – from what I can decipher – eaten by these weird ghostly things as you die, which looks brutal and admittedly looks great thanks to Mutti’s art.

Jason Staar’s writing on the other hand is fairly weak; starting with the gimmick of the dead returning (hardee har har) was a solid choice, the way main character Beth wakes up and how the nurses and doctors react is well done, but following up with an overly long and generic prom scene wasn’t, and given the opening scene the conclusion of the event was rather predictable.

The lack of proper characterization doesn’t help things either, one can’t help but notice how there’s nothing positive or negative that particularly stands out about main character Beth or her supporting cast, even after she “dies.” Staar’s solution is even worse; in an effort to make Beth more likeable he dehumanizes every other character who isn’t Beth or friends with Beth, this leads to the rather cliché scene of her various classmates calling her a freak or psycho. Inspiring.

Maybe things will start to turn around in the second issue, but I honestly can’t recommend picking up The Returning, even if you haven’t read Revival (and if you haven’t, you should!) and find the gimmick and art interesting, the lack luster writing and piss poor characterization – not to mention the weak ending – won’t have you RETURNING (nyahaha) to the book anytime soon.

5 out of 10

Nicolo Parungo