As I wrote in my review of Trespasser #1, I would have been completely okay with this series being confined to a one-shot. So gripping was that first issue, so complete and well-told, that I almost thought it would do the story a disservice to continue. Turns out I was wrong. And I couldn’t be happier for it. As you might expect, Trespasser #2 continues its story about a secluded father/daughter duo, who have survived a vague apocalypse that has spoiled humanity and the land; so much so, in fact, that the father is forced to kill and consume an alien after it crash lands near his sequestered cabin in the woods.
This, then, in many ways, is the “fallout” of that decision, as yet another visitor has arrived, presumably to discover - or indeed avenge - what happened to the first. And the team of Justin M. Ryan and Kristian Rossi play it out with beautifully, maddeningly enigmatic terror.
The first thing you notice about this book is the visual tenor of its setting; not just in its reclusive woodland hermitage backdrop, but especially beneath the suggestive tonal canopy of dusk and late night under which it is perpetually draped. Far from making it too swallowed in shadow, though, Rossi proves a deft hand in showing us just enough to atmospherically ramp up the tension of being pursued by something, itself, shadowy by nature; and potentially very, very angry.
Casting many of his layouts within panels often skewed sideways, and amidst long, lingering silhouettes and dying reflected lights, Rossi proves to be a young master of a unique yet classic style of horror storytelling in sequential art, with figure work that is simple, clean and endearing... making what is happening to the characters all the more troubling. And compelling.
Justin Ryan curates a similar and simultaneous effect in his writing, this time especially focusing on the widowed and lonely father/daughter relationship, made all the more potentially tenuous this time thanks to what could be a fatal infection. Of course, like his partner Rossi, Ryan keeps the bulk of his story tantalizingly shrouded: What are those blisters? Are they from the tainted alien meat? The radiation? The chemicals, virus or whatever it is that still hangs in the air? Is that also what causes whatever is wrong with the daughter’s eye? Who are these aliens, anyway? What do they want? And what the hell does that last page mean?
We’re still not sure bout any of it, being kept at an arm’s length from the answers; but the questions are so well anchored, so grounded in this relationship and what little we’ve seen in this world, that it almost doesn’t matter. It’s the getting-there that is important -- which, let me be clear, is the very craft, beauty...hell, the entire fucking point of storytelling -- and so far, this creative team has made that journey a spectacularly enticing one. And they have done so by teasing it out with a less-is-more approach, which initially made me okay with a one-off tale, and now makes me demand more.
[button btn_url="" btn_color="primary" btn_size="large" btn_style="default" btn_outlined="no" link_target="blank" link_rel="" icon_left="" icon_right=""]Score: 5/5[/button]
Trespasser #2 Writer: Justin M. Ryan Artist: Kristian Rossi Letterer: D.C. Hopkins Publisher: Alterna Comics Price: $1.99 Release Date: 4/13/16 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital