September 17, 2010

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Hello, Again

Written by Max Estes
Illustrated by Max Estes
Top Shelf

William is a man that, like so many other people, has a life that isn't quite how he hoped it would be. Harboring a dark secret and fooling around with a friend's fiance, Willy is not exactly leading a charmed life.

How to fix that problem? Well, sometimes a guilty conscience isn't the worst thing to have, as Willy will soon see.

Most of the comic is devoted to Willy's look at his life from a frank perspective. Starting on the day he was part of a group of kids that does a terrible deed, Willy has slowly made his life worse. Whether or not he can turn things around is a question that's only partially answered, as the focus is on the mental lightbulb that goes off for Willy, whether he wanted it to or not.

I enjoy reading stories that look at a person's life, but this one just didn't grab me. The problem, I think, is that Willy's just not all that interesting. When we meet him, he's basically a borish jerk who is committing one of the things that really gets to me--cheating. The story tries to make him a better person, but when things don't work out quite how Willy hopes, it's hard for me to feel sorry for him, or even care that's it happening at all.

I understand that Willy is meant to be a wimpy guy, but he's just too wimpy. I don't want him to win, and I don't care if he loses, and that's a real problem for me. It just doesn't make for an interesting comic, at least for me.

The story itself is paced pretty well, and Estes' artwork does the job while still being fluid enough to keep the whole thing seeming like a dream, which works nicely with the theme. He does a great job of making Willy look like a pretty miserable man, which again fits the point of the narrative.

Unfortunately, the problem for me is that the narrative just doesn't have anything that spurs my interest, as the progression from child who hides a crime to a man who lies on a regular basis just isn't shown. I think that would have made a huge difference in terms of my enjoyment. Hello, Again just wasn't what I look for in a story, but if you like stories where the protagonist must take a good hard look at himself, this might be something for you to try.