"28 Days Later: Volume 6 – Homecoming" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Originally published as 28 Days Later #21 - #24
Written by Michael Alan Nelson
Illustrated by Pablo Peppino and Alejandro Aragon
2011, 114 Pages
Trade Paperback released on December 6th, 2011
Some time ago, intrepid reporter Clint set out to get the story of the century. He wanted to show the world what was really going on in England after a virus spread through the country and decimated the population. After partnering up with a survivor named Selena, he's subsequently lost his entire team and has nearly died on multiple occasions. The pair has finally made it to London. Now what? That's where the sixth and final volume of 28 Days Later, Homecoming picks up.
The comic bridges the gap between 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later. These final chapters actually deal with the very beginning of the sequel and show that Selena, a central character from the first film, was right in the thick of things as it all fell apart. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The journey that Clint and Selena made was like a roller coaster ride. At times, it was thrilling and there were instances that I wondered if it was all worth it. After all, Clint is chasing a story for a newspaper. People don't even read those anymore. Is it worth the lives that were taken and the countless hours of therapy he'll have to face for a bunch of words that will eventually line someone's bird cage?
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It actually became much more than that. The journey's focus isn’t on Clint. It was on Selena, which isn't entirely clear until she finally makes it back to London. There are flashes throughout the series of her past with a caring husband. Not much more is shown aside from the fact that she was very happy before all this mess began. Of course, everyone was much happier then, I'm sure. We finally get to see exactly where Selena was when the virus spread and what happened to her husband during those fateful moments. We also get the origin of the machete she carries around as a bonus. Selena's return to London provides her with the closure she's been seeking for the entire series.
Speaking of London, the city is now under the control of the US military. Soldiers walk the streets and snipers sit on the rooftops, ready to take out any rogue Infected that break through the barriers. Refugees are treated almost like prisoners, prohibited from leaving the safe zone. It's more than a quarantine.
The artwork for this volume is broken up between Pablo Peppino and Alejandro Aragon, with the former handling the first chapter and the latter drawing the final three. This split works well with each artist's style. Peppino has a cleaner look, with very crisp pencils, which is a nice fit for the sterile segments where Clint and Selena are getting used to their new surroundings within the safe zone. Aragon's work is a little rougher, so it goes hand-in-hand with the events of the story as everything falls apart. He has a very emotional scene in the flashback to Selena's final moments with her husband. It's simultaneously terrifying and heartbreaking. It also shows how the infection takes place and how quickly the transformation can occur.
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Selena shows some signs of vulnerability throughout Homecoming, like chinks in her otherwise strong armor. She handles herself like any tough-guy vigilante that's appeared in movies over the years. We see a real change in her after she rolls into town and can finally mourn the loss of her husband. That rough facade cracks and all of the emotion that she's walled away all this time comes rushing out. Aragon shows this in some great scenes presented with almost no dialogue.
Oh! And there are zombies! Or whatever we call them in 28 Days Later. I think “The Infected” is the general term as they're not officially zombies, right? Aragon brings them in droves, to the point where they're overrunning the page, almost making you feel suffocated by them. You can feel them as they press in from every angle. It really gets that fear across as the people run away in terror.
28 Days Later had its ups and downs, but it finishes very strong. The comic can stand on its own as a great story but it's obviously enhanced greatly if you've seen the films. Author Michael Alan Nelson filled in the background of Selena to the extent that I will see the first movie in a completely different light, knowing what I now know about what she's been through. She's an incredibly strong female lead, which is something we need more of in comics.