By Jason Starr, Andrea Mutti & Vladimir Popov
This week we see the release of the first issue of The Returning, a four issue mini-series from BOOM! Studios. Both creators, Jason Starr and Andrea Mutti, are veterans of the now defunct Vertigo Crime series of graphic novels, but with The Returning they bring some of that mysterious and gritty storytelling to BOOM! Studios. The Returning is set in a world where people who have a near death experience are known as “changers.” They use the name changers because when they come back after a brief moment of death, they are known to have changed into more violent and erratic people.
The Returning’s first issue starts off with our main character, Beth has woken up after surviving a fatal car crash, and now her life is turned upside-down and Beth is just trying to get a grip on reality. Starr is known for his award winning novels but he also does a great job of crossing over into the medium of comics. With The Returning, Starr finds a way to combine a seemingly modern tale with a supernatural angle. Now because these are people coming back to life after seemingly dying while still keeping their personality intact, The Returning will more than likely be compared to the Image series Revival. It’s understandable that they can both seem similar on the surface but once you finish this first issue of The Returning you’ll realize that each series is uniquely their own with only slight similarities. After reading this first issue, most of the story is set up and you get a good feel for the main character Beth so by the time the issue ends you are wholly invested in The Returning and are curious to read the rest of this mini-series.
Mutti’s art for The Returning perfectly embodies this type of story. Since this is set in the not so distant future, it has a very realistic and modern tone that reflects a more lifelike approach to the story. The Returning also has a ghostly twist to it which is briefly reflected this issue with a scene that takes place during Beth’s period of death. That scene really stuck out artistically and piqued your interest into what is really happening to all of these “changers” when they initially die. Both Mutti’s art and Popov’s colors work well to keep the story flowing smoothly while being able to bring this series to life without distracting the reader from the narrative. With this being only the first issue, you can tell that this art team was an exceptional choice for The Returning.
When it comes to any comic series, it can always be difficult to hook readers right away with a first issue. With so many quality series on the shelves, most readers will only give the first issue of a new series a shot and if you’re lucky maybe the second. So when it comes to a mini-series like The Returning, you certainly need to try to catch the attention of as many readers as possible. Fortunately The Returning does just that, and with this series only being four issues long there’s no reason to not dive in and start enjoying this series.