Home Sick Pilots #8 Review

by Nick Devonald on August 18, 2021

Writer: Dan Watters
Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Letters: Aditya Bidikar

Home Sick Pilots continues to be consistently good throughout the series. The punk rock setting in the 90s, the haunted house, the unique ghosts, all of these combine to create a fantastic backdrop for a ghost story like no others. The initial elevator pitch of Power Rangers meets The Shining is an insane concoction on paper, yet the insanely talented Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard make it a natural mix.

Since coming back from the first story arc the pace has been much slower, but throughout there has been a real feeling of inevitability. It’s only a matter of time until the house is back on the scene. It’s only a matter of time until the confrontation between Meg and Ami. Watters really explores this concept of time and inevitability in this issue in a couple of clever ways. It’s not always clear that’s what he’s doing, but when you take a step back and look at it that’s what the entire issue is about.

One of the real strengths of the series is how unpredictable it is. It constantly takes readers by surprise and refuses to conform to typical storytelling tropes, instead relying on telling the story it’s telling.

Meg’s story arc is an interesting one. She is heading down a dark path, filled with rage and hate for what was done to her and her bandmates. She is embracing the ghosts in a way that Ami hasn’t, feeding off their rage and building it in turn. But she never feels like a straightforward villain either. What she has been subjected to, what she’s gone through, she has every right to be angry. Perhaps it’s a little misdirected, aiming it at Ami, but she has been through a traumatic experience at the hands of the Old James House. And as such readers can’t help but sympathise with her a little. It’s skilful storytelling from Watters, creating characters that aren’t stereotypical good or bad, really leaning into that morally grey area. One of the many highlights of the series.

Wijngaard has consistently impressed with his art throughout the series, unafraid to experiment and try things a little differently. The double page spread from the first issue which showed a cross section of the house filled with the characters in motion was fantastic and set a high standard. Then each new ghost has been unique and incredible in their own individual ways, never disappointing. This is a roundabout way of saying that expectations are always high for whatever new thing Wijngaard is going to impress readers with this week, and he manages to surprise and impress yet again in this issue. There is a scene where Ami and Rip go to a punk show and Wijngaard does something different with the art for this scene. It looks incredible. He’s experimented and tried a new style which manages to capture the feel of being at a gig on the page. It’s impossible to heap too much praise on him.

Aditya Bidikar deserves a mention here as well, there is a section where he letters over his letters (it makes sense in the context) which is both a clever storytelling trick and it looks great on the page as well. It's a well done moment, where Watters makes it very clear that the narration is from Ami and she'll tell the story the way she wants, and if that includes skipping over some details then so be it. It's a bold move but pays off well. Yet another little experiment in storytelling which reaps great rewards.

Another excellent issue in a consistently good series, the excellent pairing of Watters and Wijngaard makes for some incredible storytelling. Such a unique concept which manages to keep surprising and delighting readers, it’s almost inevitable that once this series is finished it’ll find itself on many ‘best of’ comic lists. The story, the art, all of it is fantastic.

Our Score:


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