As a reviewer, I was overjoyed to receive two issues of The Sequels at the same time to have a look at, as after The Sequels #1, Circuit Boarders, I was crazy hungry for more.
While Circuit Boarders offers astoundingly solid groundwork, the story launches from the platform toward the end, and I was ready to fly. Intergalactic Exchange Student hits all the right beats in all the right ways.
The end of Circuit Boarders found our four friends, Avery, Gwendolyn, Russ, and Dakota, taking Dakota up on an offer to use his Wishing Stone, sending the group on an adventure to find present-day Ollie, Avery’s long lost pal from his youth.
The opening of The Sequels #2, follows the story arc of Gwendolyn. Staying true to the outstanding art style of the vintage ‘before the loss’ to the modern day, slick ‘after the loss’, this graphic novel hits the pitch-perfect tone in visuals again.
Gwendolyn, like the three others in the group, suffers from the loss of a meaningful companion from her youth. It’s clearly a deep cut and reflective of the gravity with which emotions weigh on ever-changing mindscape of the adolescent. It’s hard, beautiful, and all-too-relatable.
In an effort to save the four (plus poor Ollie) from the predicament of the setting in which present-day Ollie exists, she wishes them away on Dakota’s stone. She wishes them far away. She wishes them to the place to find her own lost friend, Buddy. She wishes them away, to space.
Ollie, the robot, is mistaken for a weapon and the four struggle in an all new environment of dangers. I hesitate to give too much away, but the story twists on the hinges of trust. The pacing is outstanding, and the thematic weight of togetherness, companionship, and psychological/emotional interaction plays centerstage.
Having devoured two issues of The Sequels, I’d like to recap the absolute quality of the offering:
There is a deep sense of authentic nostalgia presented for readers who grew up in the late seventies/early eighties. This nostalgia is fertile soil for the strength of the ‘group of friends’ storytelling, which is effortless in its execution. While issues of the fantastic (robots, aliens, classic monsters, wishing stones) are present in the tale, the narrative is organic and fresh, the visuals are synched to perfection. I can not suggest picking up and reading The Sequels enough. Do it. You’ll find yourself in the story.
The Sequels #2: Intergalactic Exchange Student is published by Fanbase Press. Created and written by Norm Harper. Illustrated and colored by Val Halvorson and Bobby Timony. Flattened by Deanna Poppe. Lettered by Oceano Ransford. Cover Art by Don Aguillo.
About The Sequels
The Sequels is a four-issue, creator-owned comic book series written by Norm Harper (Eisner Award-nominated Rikki, The Naughty List) illustrated by Val Halvorson and Harvey Award-nominated Bobby Timony (The Night Owls, The Simpsons), colored/flatted by Deanna Poppe, lettered by Oceano Ransford (A Geek’s Guide to Cross-Stitch, Eisner Award-nominated Rikki), and featuring cover art by Don Aguillo (Rise, Winter, Isugid Pinoy!).
In the height of 1980s nostalgia, The Sequels dares to question whether our grasp on the past is endangering our future:
Remember the ‘80s? Avery, Gwen, Russell, and Dakota will never forget. As children, they each experienced unique adventures . . . saving the life of a sentient robot, partying with an intergalactic alien, battling the likes of vampires and werewolves, and defeating a nightmarish monster to protect imagination itself. Now, 30 years later, they’re directionless adults, still obsessed with their pasts. When a mysterious figure brings the group together to cope with their experiences, will they be prepared to live out the “sequels” to their childhood adventures?
Issues #1-4 of the comic book series will be released digitally through ComiXology starting in February 2019. In addition, the series will be collected into a printed trade paperback that will be released in July 2019.