By Cat Wyatt
The third issue of Barrier is out, and I have to admit I’ve been really looking forward to this one. I’ve heard talk about it before – it’s the first online comic to be entirely nonverbal. Considering the story being told this actually makes sense, but it’s still such an interesting idea.
This issue starts with what I can only assume is a nightmare of Liddy’s. She standing and staring at a tornado. In front of that tornado is a man on a horse (her husband, perhaps?). He’s dead (shot in the head), and the horse is headless. My guess is this nightmare is very much pulling from real life events for Liddy. We know that she’s a widow, but not how her husband died. My guess would be a gunshot wound to the head. We already know why a headless horse is being shown.
Liddy wakes up to something even worse than her nightmare; she’s still trapped on this freaky alien ship. She doesn’t know what they want, and worse, she’s all alone. I can’t imagine how terrified she must have been at that moment.
Meanwhile Oscar is trying to find his way around the room he’s been left in. Perhaps he’s trying to find a way out. Maybe he’s trying to find Liddy. I’d like to think it was both. He’s finding a lot of crap the aliens have collected – odds and ends like cars, street signs, guns, everything. My guess is they’re trying to take a sample of as many things as possible from earth. Clearly they’re studying us for one reason or another.
One thing Oscar did manage to find that must have felt pretty good; he found his backpack. You know; the one with that red book in it? The one he risked missing his train to get? I still don’t know what that book is (okay, that isn’t true, I’ve already read through this issue twice before I started writing this – but you know what I mean) but I know it is very important to him.
I think all of his shuffling around caught the attention of the aliens again, because they grabbed him and dropped him into the same room as Liddy. Perhaps this is a holding room for their more troublesome collections? Hopefully it isn’t the room they do vivisections in or anything like that…
They both seem surprised but pleased to see each other. Remember that bond I was talking about? Though to be honest I think Liddy was a bit happier about seeing the stuff inside Oscar’s bag; especially the soda and cigarettes. Can’t really say I blame her there (and at least she shared it with him).
Something pretty weird happens when they turn the lighter on. It’s like the room goes all blurry and twitchy. I’m not sure how they’re actually seeing these events, but that’s how it looks to them. Whatever is actually happening, it gives them an idea. And that idea involves fire. Lots of it.
Which brings us to the red book. That would make wonderful kindling, something that they apparently need to get out of here (hopefully). But the book…it’s full of his sons drawing. Even without using words he’s able to make this clear to Liddy (and to us). They have a silent conversation full of emotion and need, and in the end Oscar manages to bring himself to give it up (minus one page he saves for himself). I know the way I’m describing this doesn’t sound terribly emotional, but trust me, it really is. I’d highly suggest checking out this scene, if nothing else. It broke my heart and really does a great job of showing the depth of human emotions.
The room/bubble they’re in fills with water (okay, maybe not water, but certainly a liquid of some sort) in response to the fire. I’m not sure what they’re plan is next, nor do I know if this was the expected result to their actions. It’ll be interesting to see how they get out of this one.
I love that not a single word was spoken during this issue. There were two word bubbles used in the entirely of it, and both were blank; really they were there to point out the absence of speech more than anything. Which was brilliant – to be honest I was so into the story I hadn’t even picked up on the fact that everything I’d inferred was from the images instead of text until that moment. I love that they drew my attention to this fact, but in a non-abrasive manner. It didn’t break the immersion, merely pointed out how far it had gone.
Like the other issues the artwork for this issue was stunning. In a way I’d argue this was the best artwork so far; not because of the quality (which is very good), but because of how the entirely of the story was carried by the images. There were literally no words used to support the artwork here, so the artwork had to fully stand up on its own. That is not an easy task, and I have to admit I’m incredibly impressed.