A new set of black ops characters can only spell trouble for Ami and the old James House. Although the haunted house in question is certainly giving Ami enough trouble of its own as she discovers their relationship is not an equal one in Home Sick Pilots #4 from Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard.
Home Sick Pilots #4 begins to open out the punky haunted house story we have been following so far with the introduction of a tantalizing new mysterious black ops style group who have more than a passing interest in the Old James house. A shadowy high-tech operation with their own dark secrets to be learnt in future issues, who seem to know a bit more about ghosts than Ami and her fellow bandmates do. It certainly adds a new and dangerous dimension into play, especially as we don’t have a clue what they’re up to, or whether they’re even good or bad.
Ami’s becoming something of the expert on ghostly matters herself. But, I suppose that’s to be expected when you have the James House possess you and send you out into the big bad world to do its bidding. But, as Ami soon learns in this issue, her relationship with this particular haunted house is not the healthiest. It’s very much a one-sided affair, that’s for sure.
Along for the ride this issue is fellow bandmate, Buzz, who finds his possession by the house to be the most fun as he too gets turned into a supernaturally powered mecha. Until it isn’t.
With each issue writer Dan Watters continues to build the tension with further teasing readers with hints at a bigger, wider-world picture. But hints and tension do not alone make a gripping comic book. Thankfully we have a good deal of action included, with a supernatural slugfest that sprawls across a good portion of the issue. fellow Home Sick Pilot, Buzz, takes on a Videodrome reject in a scene reminiscent of Watters and Caspar Wijngaard’s Limbo mini-series, also from Image Comics.
The art in these scenes and others continues to be dynamic, energetic and high-octane with the now-familiar neon-tinted colour palette courtesy of Wijngaard. His art shines the most when he applies his own colouring, as he has done throughout this series so far. The colour palette, as well as Wijngaard’s clean lines lends this horror book a very distinctive aesthetic look and feel. The teenage dirt bags and Los Angeles mid-90s setting only accentuates the series’ distinctive design. Right down to the ghosts too.
A great turning point of an issue that ramps up the danger, possibly the body count and most definitely the stakes.
Home Sick Pilots #4 is out Wednesday 10th March from Image Comics.