Review: Trespasser #1

Trespasser is a book I expected to just glance over; and in fact, that’s just what I did on my first read-through to determine whether I was going to review it. But as my cursory skim organically transformed into a deeper read, I found myself compelled to immediately go back for a second helping. And now I can’t stop thinking about it, which is a sure sign that you’re doing comics right. At the center of Trespasser is a fairly simple story: a father and his daughter living a quiet cottage life, far from civilization. This is a good thing, we are led to believe, as “something” has happened to the world to throw it into disarray, such that even the game in their rural enclave has become contaminated somehow, making feeding his daughter and him a trying, often unsuccessful task.

Their reclusive and difficult existence is thrown into upheaval, however, when a visitor lands in one of their bear traps. But this visitor isn’t just any old person; in fact, it’s not a “person” at all. What follows is a one-sided story that begins with a most human hospitality and ends with something much, much more sinister, and arguably even more human: survival.

coverThat’s all I really want to say about this book, mostly because I respect how writer Justin M. Ryan has crafted such an intentionally vague yet intriguing narrative, with dialogue that not only takes its time, but embraces the dual nature of comics storytelling by allowing artist Kristian Rossi’s visual’s to fill in the gaps, or complement them simultaneously on the page The way that last splash incorporates both image and text, for example, is some of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. At the same time, he employs a writing style similar to the environment in which his father and daughter duo live: it’s natural, often even sweet (particularly in their relationship), but it also suffers, as they do, being tainted by something unseen and unsaid.

Throughout the entire book, in fact, there is an incredible strength going on in the background, be it in the hushed references to some or another human collapse, or in the column of bullet holes in a broken down car. That quiet mystery simmers with an ample and maddeningly enticing menace; a lovely, terrible tease. And yet, as strange as it may sound, and as much as I do want to know about this world, if this series ended after this first issue (as a one-shot), I would be 100% okay with it. That’s how great a job the creative team does in this story.

As another third of that creative team, Kristian Rossi does a brilliant job of filling the gaps left by Ryan with some great visual storytelling of his own and some competent, if slender figure work and acting. His page architecture is prosaic for the most part, but it gets the job done, and within the panels he lays out, is a power to elicit that puts many industry pros to shame. I will admit that sometimes the shadow throughout the story is applied with a bit too heavy a hand; however,Trespasser also uses the dark to its advantage in a way similar to something from Rossi’s fellow Argentinian (and surname anagram), Eduardo Risso: teeth gleaming, eyes piercing, things...waiting.

I enjoyed the absolute hell out of Trespasser #1 as a completive comic dutifully written and illustrated, all for a damn-near criminal steal at $1.99. For a quiet story that will resound for days, look no further than here.

Score: 4/5

Trespasser #1 Writer: Justin M. Ryan Artist: Kristian Rossi Letterer: D.C. Hopkins Publisher: Alterna Comics Price: $1.99 Release Date: 2/10/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital