The Visitor: How & Why He Stayed #4 ComicWow! Review

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Of all the issues within this miniseries to be released thus far, this one resonates with me the most. Quite some time has passed, and the Visitor is more preoccupied with his wife, Ruby, than he is with Hellboy. He still keeps tabs on him, but Ruby has become priority. She is human. Time exists. The two tango, and Ruby grows older and older, more and more regressive, and finally she is taken from this world. The Visitor, gifted (or cursed) with a perfect memory, will never forget her or the lessons she taught him.

This issue is a profound examination of the human condition, the human psyche, the concept of gerontology, logic, emotion, hatred, and kindness. More than science fiction, this issue reads like a sociocultural look at humanity and how we became the way we are. Both love and hatred are learned, but Ruby never let the Visitor forget that kindness lies within each of us.

The all too real concept of racial inequality is used as the primary example of hatred, and the fight for equality as the one of kindness. Mignola and Roberson carefully look at both these themes and apply them to Ruby and the Visitor’s relationship. It’s most interesting to get an outsider’s perspective on the human race. We are an eclectic group of beings, but we feel the same things. We are raised in different ways, to accept and/or deny others based on trivial details like the color of skin. Both writers acknowledge this and provide a fascinating look at it from an alien’s point of view.

Paul Grist’s artwork resembles Mignola’s own in a lot of ways. The blocky, expressionism-based art style perfectly illustrates the script. Panels in which Ruby is staring blankly into nothingness—talking about her past as if it were her present—are heartbreaking. This is a real look at the process of aging and the effects it has on the mind. These panels are absolutely haunting, and are still engrained in my head after I’ve put the book down for quite some time.

Despite a generally unrealistic art style, Grist shows us a lot of emotion, especially from the Visitor. He goes from his human form back into his alien form when he realizes that Ruby has passed away. We can see the worry in his face from page one, and the disappointment in his body language as he leaves flowers by Ruby’s grave. Aesthetically, this issue is brilliant.

I’m rather glad that this series turned out to be more about the Visitor than Hellboy himself. I wasn’t expecting that, and it was definitely a nice surprise. This issue is damn near perfect, and I was honestly bummed when I flipped the last page. I’m not all too sure of where the Visitor is going to go from here, what he is going to do, if he is going to stay for Hellboy or the chance of meeting another human to share his life with… But I’m excited to find out. The final issue is on its way, so keep reading!

Written by: Mike Mignola & Chris Roberson

Illustrated by: Paul Grist