Owen Pomery’s new book Victory Point is a gloriously sun kissed tale of a walk down memory lane as Ellen returns home to the coastal town where she grew up with her father. What follows is an effortlessly charming and gloriously conceived thought piece on returning home, based in one of the most unique settings we have seen in a comic.
Publisher: Avery Hill Publishing
Writer: Owen D Pommery
Artist: Owen D Pommery
Price: £14.99 from Avery Hill Publishing
Victory Point is one of those books which appears simple and lightweight on first impressions, yet is layered with subtle intricacies that you absorb slowly, as you digest and inhabit it. There are so many hidden depths and little touches in there that make this into a compelling read, yet they aren’t showy or in your face they are just immaculately placed, in order to create this wonderful mood for a story.
The story in question follows a young woman returning home to her childhood town and is nice enough when considered in isolation. Pommery handles the dialogue and characters well, however on first impressions it lacks a certain depth or substance to it. Ellen wonders around and meets old school friends and goes for a swim in a cove before visiting her father and then going home. However, Victory Point is as much about the ambience of the story as it is the actions. While some returns to a home town can bring about trauma or revisit old unopened wounds, this feels like a largely positive experience (even when encountering past sadness), and it sees Ellen reminded about what is important in her life – something which we could all do with a bit of at the moment!
This relatively simple story is expanded and made into something truly wonderful by Pommery’s exquisite visuals. His characters all have these small pin prick like eyes which reminded us of A New Jerusalem, while the overall tone feels both very British in the tradition of Raymond Briggs and Posy Simmonds, but also quite European in it’s confidence and calmness. It also has the meticulousness of Frank Quiteley in the architecture and landscape and the whole thing feels incredible studied and careful at the same time.
It is the landscape which is the star of the show for us in Victory Point though – or more accurately the architecture. The village of Victory Point is styled as being a kind of Portmeirion-esque architectural anomaly designed by a [fictious?] architect named ML Schreiber. An idealistic community designed to bring art culture and diversity to the coast, instead it becomes a victim of it’s own esoteric-ness and it stifles what it has attempted to create. Whether that is preventing more ethnically diverse residents, or creating an observatory which no one uses any more. However it is the buildings which make the atmosphere so rich and Pommery has created this wonderful faded modernism to Victory Point. While you can see it once had a sleakness to it, those building are now lived in and starting to feel worn, and this then reflects Ellen’s journey through the town as she echoes those sentiments in her own life.
Pommery’s artwork has this fine detail to it, as well as a gloriously sunny colour palette that makes it feel like a Mediterranean island, but it has something quintessentially English about it too. Whether it is a real place or not is an interesting question you find yourself asking as you read it (and then you find yourself Googling afterwards), The location and presentation work in perfect harmony to create this truly unique place and with it a wonderfully quirky and subtly told story.
Victory Point is one of those books where it is difficult to truly articulate why it is so wonderful. It just has this languid charm to it. It feels effortless in it’s story telling as Ellen meanders from conversation to conversation, stopping on the way to have a swim, and then have a coffee. It reminded us of Lizzie Stewarts’ Walking Distance with it’s almost stream of consciousness style, as well as Jon McNaught’s Kingdom and even Kat Chapman’s Follow me In for it’s meticulous subtly.
It’s another glorious read from Avery Hill and a completely different book from the last work we saw from Owen – the outrageous Megatherium Club in Reads – however its is one of those books which we find ourselves returning to and continuing to think about long after we finished reading it. Victory Point is the kind of place you want to inhabit, and Ellen’s journey of self discovery feels like a travel guide through this wonderful place rather than a deep rooted personal examination of the soul. As such this make Victory Point into one of those engaging and wonderful books that you have to experience rather than simply read.