By Rebecca Benson
Before we start, this book is currently on Kickstarter and is ending soon! Check it out at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arledgecomics/no-going-back?ref=project_link.
“No Going Back” is a graphic novel that stars teenaged Rebecca, whose life originated from within walls. These walls were built to protect its community. No one was allowed to exit; no one was allowed adventure beyond their limits. Enter the hooded figures of the court. These hooded figures dictate the laws of the land and enact punishment as needed. These happenstances do not curb Rebecca’s curiosity of life behind the Wall. She begins to question the role of her society. Feeling brave, Rebecca sneaks away and catches a glimpse of life beyond, sharing treasures with her younger brother Henry. Rebecca’s and Henry’s mistakes catch up with them, and Rebecca flees from her town. She then finds herself in a library and welcomed into a new world, chock full of knowledge. Awaiting her friendship is a pup she names Ruby. Months later, Rebecca encounters a group of other survivors, similar in age. With each member offering a specific skill set, the group sets off to find other locations that may have supplies. But things don’t turn out as expected. Once again, Rebecca must find her way home to her family, to her once familiar and confined community.
Writer Mike Furth does a phenomenal job in storytelling. “No Going Back” provides allusions to other great literary works. The subtle use of literary themes woven throughout makes for a great story in “No Going Back.” Furth also touches on modern ideas of inclusion, together with the acceptance of individuals’ varying backgrounds. Artist Anna Wieszczyk’s artwork is exquisite! Wieszcyk is able to portray a lot of narration utilizing her special talent. There is no need for additional dialogue! (I love it when artists are able to capture full human emotion without saying anything). The minimal use of color highlights Rebecca’s worlds of unknown, mystery, and intrigue.
Adding to the story is the motif of friendship. Rebecca must learn to trust–whether it’s human or canine. I enjoyed that the individuals within the group have specific strengths. No one is weaker–or stronger–each is an important aspect within the team. Also playing into this graphic novel is the notion of censorship. It accentuates peoples’ and groups’ ideologies, beliefs, and opinions, and how they shape our worldly perspective. I’m fascinated with the development of the community in “No Going Back.” I like to think of people’s motivations for creating such controlled environments. Like the introduction infers, is it fear? Is it the desire to control? What is the end goal of creating such a setting? Also important are the lives it affects. Like Rebecca, we all must ask questions and discover who we are and where we belong.
I hope you enjoy “No Going Back” as I have! Look for it on Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/arledgecomics/no-going-back?ref=project_link.
Rating: FOUR Pastrami Nations out of FIVE.
Rebecca Benson currently resides in the mountains of California. A mother of one daughter, she has a love for pop culture, with a knack for Disney, Harry Potter, and is currently an educator for the hearing impaired. An avid reader, she jumped deeper into the world of comic books in 2020, with her interest piqued in the independent scene.