Written by Marcos Martin & Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Marcos Martin & Muntsa Vincente
Digitally Published by Panel Syndicate
Release Date: 12/01/2015
The team of Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente are back with the follow-up to their first collaboration (The Private Eye) with Barrier #1. Once again through their Panel Syndicate site, they are offering this oversized fifty page first issue DRM-free at whatever price you’d like to pay.
Barrier is described as an unconventional story about illegal immigration, and it certainly lives up to the solicit. The story is being told from two different perspectives, as it follows our two main protagonists in Liddy and Oscar. Liddy is the ranch owner on the border of South Texas who believes the cartels are sending her a message and seems prepared to take certain measures to protect what is hers (despite what her employee believes).
Oscar’s story is told from the perspective of an immigrant attempting to make his way to the United States from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. It shines a light on what many of us already know about illegal immigration, with the violent dangers and numerous risks that our neighbors to the south face on a daily basis, all for a chance at a better life.
Liddy is written beautifully with complexities that hopefully will get explored in later issues. Besides the obvious, she has a past that she seems to be trying to run from and hang on to at the same time. As for Oscar, despite his commitment to this journey, there is something in his possession that is dear to him that he is not willing to part with, even if it means adding further risk to his plans.
What I found most fascinating is the language in this book and its bilingual context, switching back and forth between English (Vaughan) and Spanish (Martin). I could not help but think about the divisiveness in our country today when it comes to the issue of immigration. Not being able to entirely see or understand one viewpoint because one might be so caught up with their own personal beliefs or problems. There are also the obvious communication and language barriers, which this book symbolically challenges readers with. I am fortunate enough to be able to understand and read some Spanish, but I will be google translating some of the text later when I read this again.
The writing is what you might expect from Vaughan which is just brilliant, this time with some support from Martin. Much like they did in The Private Eye, Martin and Vicente once again bring gorgeous illustrations and colors that just make you want to hold this in your hands (hint hint). Overall Barrier #1 was an amazing first issue by this Eisner award-winning team that promises to bring more drama and more weirdness over the next four issues.
REVIEW: BARRIER #1
Peter Rodriguez (Geek Sushi)