THE VISITOR, ISSUES #1-3
Writer: Paul Levitz
Illustrator: MJ Kim
Colorist: Diego Rodriguez
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Covers: Amilcar Pinna
WHAT IS IT?
The Visitor is about the protection of a group of Japanese scientists and diplomats as they are protected by a United Nations Security Officer, as they try to complete their super-secret project before a mysterious figure can murder them.
It Came From Outerspace meets V for Vendetta for this sci-fi, mystery, action comic that feels equal parts gorgeous and extremely safe storytelling.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Talia Dauber is a Security Agent with the United Nations who is assigned to protect a group of Japanese scientists and diplomats as they move their top-secret project to the United States for extra security. Dauber is trying to protect the team from being attacked by a mystery individual but is not given any information about what Ogawa-san and Dr. Kubo-sama’s project for Japan is.
Dauber is tasked with keeping the diplomats safe while they are on the run from The Visitor, who has their own agenda for why they are trying to take out Dr. Kubo-sama and his team. The intrigue in this series is what exactly the Japanese are working on and why The Visitor is trying to stop it. Agent Dauber is stuck in the middle of this conflict, as she tries to figure out just what the Japanese are up to.
I love looking at landscape art and being able to see artists illustrate buildings skylines, MJ Kim brings it to this comic.
Small things in how the panels are set up, like transitioning facial reactions in real-time while highlighting the city skyscrapers on page 1 are incredible. Kim is able to mix panels into a splash page to create a dynamic introduction to the story.
I was not familiar with Simon Bowland’s work before The Visitor, but their work creates visceral reactions from the reader as you are seeing buildings implode, debris crashing into the streets, or TV’s turning off.
Diego Rodriguez kills it on the colors, with their ability to highlight simple things like showing the shadow from a phone or being able to add that static look when watching a security video.
The first two issues do a good job of not revealing too much about who (or what) The Visitor is.
There is one panel in issue two, where Agent Dauber and Ogawa-san are talking in the car, Kim illustrates this conversation like the reader is watching it from a car dash camera. The panel is rounded to make it appear they are being filmed. Truly unique and makes the art feel more dynamic.
Flashbacks occur throughout the story and provide another chance for Kim's and Rodriguez's art to shine. Absolutely gorgeous and gives me some Mark Buckingham Mister Miracle vibes.
The last thing on MJ Kim’s art, I think the biggest takeaway that I got from these issues is how ambitious Kim is when setting up the story through the panels. These are NOT your ordinary comic panels and it creates a very cinematic feel to the story.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Personally, I am honestly tired of the “foreigners are up to no good” storylines and find them very contrived.
Most of the dialogue between the Japanese characters are written in English though stylized as “< >”, but then Levitz spells out only “Hai” (one way to say “yes” in Japanese) in English. Just weird.
None of the characters were really connecting with me. Agent Dauber could be so much more, but her main dialogue is used to advance the “I could better protect you if you just tell me what your work is” story.
The pacing seems a little off, I would have liked a cleaner set up than just pandamonium right off the bat. At times, this story gives off a cinematic feel and I believe they could have really leaned into that feel.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
There is some real intrigue to how this mini-series wraps up and for those who want a real sci-fi mystery reveal, this could be for you.
If you are the type of reader who comes and stays for the art, then you will surely enjoy this book. Kim and Rodriguez deliver the goods for the art and Bowland’s lettering really adds an extra layer of depth to the visual story. This is a solid team to build a series around.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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