The Visitor Offers Tense SciFi Mystery

Writer:  Paul Levitz

Art:  MJ Kim

Colors:  Diego Rodriguez

Letters:  Simon Bowland

Cover Artists:  Amilcar Pinna, Raul Allen, Michael Walsh, Kenneth Rocafort

Publisher:  Valiant Entertainment

Price:  $3.99

Available:  December 18

Out this week from Valiant is the first of a six-issue sci-fi mystery, The Visitor.  A mysterious terrorist holds the world’s leaders in the iron grip of terror…but who is he/she/it?  What is he/she/it?  “Unstoppable. Untraceable. Unkillable. This is how he changes the world…”

Japanese scientists are developing technology that will change the world, something related to space and which will guarantee a safe and bountiful future…for them.  Apparently, at the cost of at least the United States.  Having duped the United Nations into hosting the group’s experiments and development on New York City’s Roosevelt Island, Doctor Kubo and his crew of researchers instead find themselves whisked away by UN Security Service Agent Talia Dauber in response to the threat of a terrorist assault. 

Security footage just before an explosion at the Japanese consulate (where the researchers were originally to be) shows a solitary figure in an eerie mask and mysterious black garb…the same figure who later snaps the support line for the Roosevelt Island tram, a cover for the figure’s approach to the researchers’ lab.  But who is this figure, how do they know about the Japanese scientists’ work—when not even their hosts are aware, and what’s with its gentle treatment of subway rats when it tosses people like so much fishing chum?

Well, I can’t give everything away now…

In The Visitor no. 1, Paul Levitz presents us the opening chapter of what looks to be a taut, exciting thriller, with intrigue and layers galore.  Who is the titular Visitor?  What are their motivations?  What are the Japanese doing, and why the secrecy, even from their allies?  With tense action and quick-fire dialogue, we’re immersed into Levitz’s world, one of chaos, confusion and lies.  And one I want to know a good deal more about.

Pacing Levitz’s tale is Kim’s fine linework.  Conveying the anarchy of a New York under assault and the research team’s anxiety-riddled response, Kim is particularly adept at framing action sequences and portraying the massive scale of New York City.

Rodriguez’s colors are bright and vivid throughout, and capture the alternating chaos of the Visitor’s attack and the barely-controlled anxiety of Doctor Kubo and his team’s response and not-entirely-voluntary escape.  Bowland is tasked with a difficult challenge here: there is a great deal of information and dialogue to present, but also a lot of action.  A difficult assignment, but one the letterer handles with grace and efficacy; the dialogue is sharp and easy to follow despite the large cast of characters, and Kim’s art never feels overwhelmed by text.

All in all, an excellent first chapter, and one that’s got me very interested for issue two and beyond.

Issue one of The Visitor will be available Wednesday, December 18 at your local comic store or via Amazon or comiXology.  Also, don’t miss Valiant’s issue three (of four) of Cullen Bunn’s Roku, available from the same bat-dealers, at the same bat-time!

Score: 11.5 (of 13)

Review by Andy Patch, thePullbox.com

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