Our story is set in the city of Leeds, it opens in a happening night club full of revellers dancing, drinking and engaging in other forms of merriment, followed by a frustrated clubgoer named Ajay charging into the bathroom only to learn that he has in fact barged into the Ladies room and not the Gents. An embarrassing mistake but made more so by the fact there was someone using the toilets at the time.
In the many times I have entered club toilets (6 by my last count), I always felt it was best to be quick and keep the level of chat to a minimum. The writers of this comic however, thought it would be best to start an awkward conversation between the two-bathroom attendees, having them discuss the rumour that the club toilets were going unisex. After some cringe worthy dialogue including asking the girl (Natalie) does she want a drink, which is either the bravest or the stupidest thing possible to do in that moment, I found myself laughing at the embarrassing thought that somewhere in the modern world this is actually happening, lending a sense of realism to the story.
From here we venture on to the young Natalie’s apartment, where things have progressed to the no pants dance and are only going to get hotter for our characters, as they begin to embrace each-other, passion fills the air and lust lays a gentle blanket on the narrative only to have the raw energy tear it off again. Nothing new in terms of story-telling, that is until two black speech boxes appear, which immediately grabs you as the rest are in white and they read, “They will turn on you”, “they always do”. My thoughts immediately turned to “what do these mean, who is saying them?” No sooner had these questions entered my mind before we see that Natalie’s hair is now coloured Auburn, a dark angry red in contrast to the blonde we saw in the first few panels.
Ajay, understandably, freaks out and makes a naked, all be it hasty escape, he rushes out to the balcony and climbs up onto the ledge, at this point I am not desperate to find out what comes next and why he is preparing to leap from the ledge, as nothing so far has led be to believe this will end anything other than badly. Sure enough, a second later he is plummeting to his presumable death and I was left to assume that the young woman is the protagonist
As it turns out I needn’t have worried, as Ajay (still naked mind you) picks himself up and dusts himself off, without a single scratch (to Ajay I mean, the car he lands on is fucked). I now realised we are not dealing with an ordinary man, and that as the reader I have uncovered another layer to this character and story.
As we read on we are introduced to Ajay’s best and so far, only friend and right away there seems to be a history between these two as they allude to past times and have a bromance of sorts going with the way they interact, this adds another dimension to the story, expanding the world and given it more depth. It grabbed my interest because I want to know their history and how they became friends.
The Look and Feel
The panels in Start Again are not adorned with beautiful scenery, breath-taking views or works of art that make the eyes feel unworthy, instead they are drawn in a very real and almost live atmosphere as if the artist was drawing them while these events were taking place. The use of social media in blended very well into the story and fits the theme of Start Again well, it is neither over nor under used and provides essential information which I won’t spoil for you. We, as a people, come in all manner of shapes and sizes and trying to capture todays people as characters may seem a daunting, or even impossible task. Yet the way these characters are written and drawn it was almost as if I knew them, they remind me of people I know, they are drawn to relate to the reader and it’s a job they do very well.
This comic will surprise you, intrigue you and grab you, it will make you think. It will give you the truth, well, at least a version of it, and all you must do is trust it, or perhaps arrive at what you consider to be the truth. This is a series I look forward to reading in the future.