If The Love Bunglers left you wondering what might happen if Maggie and Hopey got to spend any time together, Jaime Hernandez has manufactured the reunion in Is This How You See Me? With both characters in their forties (Hopey married with a kid; Maggie still in her relationship with Ray) they embark on a punk scene reunion. (Nearly) everyone from the old days is here, including Daffy, Doyle, Isabelle and Terry Downe, as they all congregate in Hoppers for a night of old-school punk, topped off with a headline gig by old favourite Ape Sex.
Of course, the more that changes, the more that stays the same, at least from Maggie’s perspective. Old feelings surface and closet skeletons are exposed, alongside flashbacks to moments in Maggie and Hopey’s past that we haven’t seen in detail before.
For readers similarly lost in their middle-ages, the questions raised here are all too real. Do we cling to our past selves or embrace the cycle of change? Should we be mourning the past or excited by rebirth and renewal?
Is This How You See Me? really is like catching up with old friends. I’ve lived with some of these characters for thirty years, and have a love for them that goes above and beyond the feelings I have for most characters, in comic books or any other medium. Sorry Batman, you just don’t make me feel the same way. However, this is a continuation of a story that’s been growing over the decades, so new readers should certainly not start here, but head back into the past, where hopefully they can still find the same timeless affinity with the characters, even though their early adulthood is now a relic of another age.
As with any old friend, all we really want is to see Maggie and her crew happy. However, just like in real life, what she needs and what she wants don’t seem to tie together. It’s not the perfect story, nor the perfect ending, but perhaps a solid enough new chapter in Jaime Hernandez’s magical life’s work.