We were all out of luck, all out of time
Law was waiting for us at the end of the line
Any minute now we knew we was gonna have to decide…
That stanza is from “Boxcar” by Shovels and Rope, a song about two lovers/criminals running away from the law when one of them decides to face the law by herself. While not an exact one to one to the never-ending story of Tessa and Mali, it’s the update of the boxcar escape that really brings that song to mind when reading issue 6 of the Christopher Sebela and Claire Roe created series.
Swinging back around to the two main Sequels and just what they’ve been up to since issue #4. It turns out that “convalescing on a boxcar safe house” is the answer. TV, bed, movies, music… the works. For a little bit, the two get to be domestic as they catch up on their past lives. The chemistry between the two of them is so easy and loving, and the way Mali talks about Tessa in the narration is heart wrenching in the best ways. “This isn’t love,” she says at one point, “It’s something bigger and scarier than that.”
Roe’s art and Lawson’s colors in this issue drive that point home. Where the two were previously and constantly wearing conflicting styles with bright, signature colors, their looks have become more blended and casual with their signature greens and purples become much more toned down. Tessa even wears green at one point. It serves as a nice contrast to the red tones of the flashback and action scenes.
Roe really relishes in the little details of the way Mali and Tessa act around each other. Underwear casually peeking out over the waistband of jeans. Silly, knowing looks. Loving embraces. It makes it even harder knowing that it can’t be like this forever for them, but it makes those moments even more rewarding to read in the meantime. Sebela and Roe work fantastically together to make the relationship of Tessa and Mali feel like one the reader has been rooting for forever, even though it didn’t really unfold until two issues prior. It doesn’t just speak to the strength of the way Sebela writes the two, but to how the concept of Sequels managed to be executed in this book.
Of course, that happy sort of on the run domesticity only lasts until the last page, when the plot re-collides with the end of #5 and the Sequels that have been chasing them down finally have them cornered. End of the line, girls.
There’s the infamous Joker quote from The Dark Knight that gets applied to wrestlers Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens a lot more lately. “You and I are destined to do this forever.” That’s essentially what the story of Mali and Tessa has been up until this point. Two souls locked in conflict until the end of time, always coming back and finding each other. Welcome Back #6 throws a wrench in that concept though and explores if it is possible for them to do so. Sebela and Roe make that believable, but right now, it comes down more to if the rest of the world will let them and if they can survive as lovers in their next life if they can’t escape. The domesticity is lovely and nearly perfect, but it makes that conflict even more suspenseful as it comes.