It's simple, honest and refreshing. A story about very little, but that prompts reflection into how so little actually means so much.
This is a story about connection. In fiction, the reason human relationships often connect with the audience is because of their improbable nature, and that's what you find here in TJ and Amal. A chance encounter at a gay bar in San Franciso lands our protagonists together in a car, traveling cross-country to Providence, RI.
We don't know the exact reason for TJ's joining Amal in this trip, but ultimately, it doesn't matter. The connection between humans here, and the emotions that drive all of us are the real point of the story. Everyone has felt alone and lost, and often, it is only the company of others that can pull you back from that abyss, whether that person is someone you have known for a lifetime, or that you just met, may not matter, it's about the connection. Improbable connection is a literary tool that often drives an audience to engage more readily because the inquisitive nature of humans tends to spark a curiosity within us to discover how the relationship creates connection between characters in the story, and TJ and Amal achieves that fairly quickly through TJ's quirky nature, and the mystery of why he decides to join Amal, a man he doesn't even know, on a 3,000+ mile journey across the country.
It's a classic 'road trip' story, but with a modern sensibility to it. One of the neatest parts about this book is the index in the back that gives a bit of history into places, things and music in the story. Author E.K. Weaver gives insight into particular panels and how they relate to real life and her personal experiences. It's a nice touch that is a cherry on top of the emotional depth the story is approached with.
This book is lighthearted at times, but never loses its sense of wandering purpose, and that purpose is that it doesn't have a purpose, at least not yet, it is an accurate reflection of how life can take you places for reasons you may not know, and it instills that life isn't about what you do, or where you go, but about the journey that takes you there.
Artistically this is a nice departure from many of the mainstream comics you encounter every Wednesday. It is heavy on the pencils, light on the inks and has an Eastern (read: manga) influence that gives a particular personality to the book. The interludes are done in a much 'sketchier', pure pencil fashion, and make for nice transitional interludes between story segments.
This is an enjoyable tale about connection and life's journey, and a great change of pace to standard comic book fare. If you're looking for something to just sit back and lose yourself in, this might be a book for you. It reads fast though, so maybe pick up volumes 1 & 2 at the same time, I wish I had, because I finished this volume in around 30 minutes or so.