I'm not usually one to post about something that's just getting started, but Barrier is an exception because it's not going to be collected in a trade. The original on line creation is being published in 5 issues by Image and that's it if you want a print copy. Coming out weekly, Barrier, by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente, is coming out weekly. This past Wednesday was week three and the halfway point, so if you haven't gotten ahold of it, you probably still can find the first 3 issues on the stands before they get jacked up in price.
Barrier is a beautiful book. It's being published oversized and with the panels sideways by the usual standards. Martin's art is arresting, whether in perspective that focuses on a character's face or in depicting the very alien aliens who are, through issue 3, something of a mystery.
The story starts with the perspectives of a young father trying to make it to the US from Honduras and a young American rancher on the border and who's a widow. It looks like it's going to be a direct address of the problems of those fleeing to American and those in America who are reluctant, at best, to absorb those immigrants. The immigrant faces violence and Coyotes and exposure to the elements and desperate crossings. The rancher faces smuggling and racism and intimidation and loneliness. Then it all goes sideways for both of them when they're abducted by aliens from another planet.
The portions of the story told from the Honduran perspective are told in Spanish. The American's story is told in English. When they and the aliens come together, each continues in his or her own language, without interpretation for either. The aliens speak in colors, representing the fact that their language is entirely without frame of reference for either human.
The two humans, when they interact on the alien ship, are able to make themselves understood to one another on a basic level, even without a shared language, because they have shared human cultural references. Pointing and speaking or showing artwork that the Honduran has done or had done on his person gets a message across. Pantomime fills in blanks.
But with the aliens, there's nothing. Through the first 3 issues neither human has any idea what the aliens want. They're shunted from one part of the ship to another, sometimes alone and sometimes together. For whatever reason the aliens stripped the rancher of her clothes, leading the Honduran to give her his jacket. The ship has spaces filled with objects taken from Earth and just dumped like some treasure room in Gringotts. When the humans try to light a fire, the aliens react swiftly, but the aliens also provided medical care for a bullet wound to the Honduran's leg.
This is an intriguing story, and if you're impatient you can read it on Panel Syndicate where it was originally published. I can wait two more weeks to get the rest of the story in an excellent print edition.