By Nolan P. Smith
A while back, I spotlighted a very colorful and eye-catching book on Kickstarter called The Foreigner. It looked fantastic, the story was interesting, and I felt like it was a book that needed to be funded. Now, I have the physical copy in hand and have devoured the book in one sitting. So did this Kickstarter project live up to its campaign?
An original graphic novel written and illustrated by Kensuke Okabayashi, the book is one of a strange world filled with robots, fairies, kings and queens, dysfunctional royal families, and at the heart of it, the struggle of a new marriage. The book focuses on Kaz, a number cruncher trying to get that all mighty promotion, even if he has to sacrifice time with his wife in the process. But Kaz’s world makes a sharp turn, as his life is not just flipped upside down, it’s shaken up thoroughly like a mixed drink or a snow globe. By trying to save his wife from an attack, Kaz ends up in a land not his own; this isn’t Brooklyn anymore. Transported to a strange land where the residents are all fall stronger and bigger than Kaz, he tries to find a way out all while slowly learning about this bizarre place.
The book’s story is nothing like I had imagined it would be when I spotlighted the project, it’s even better. Sometimes we try to visualize what something will be like, and usually, we end up let down. Not so with this book. I love the journey of Kaz and the crazy denizens of this new world. Characters like Natya, a skilled and strong hunter that finds Kaz as he was about to meet certain death. The royal family are all unique and memorable in their own ways. Dubbed the Foreigner, Kaz becomes a tool to victory for the parties involved in this royal civil war, but why? And what about his wife? Wait, is this world even real? Did Kaz die trying to save his wife and this is the afterlife?
Kensuke does an amazing job with this book. The artwork is lush and beautiful, and the story is one of exploration and a journey into one’s own emotions, not just a journey in the physical sense. I loved Book One of The Foreigner and I am anxiously waiting for word on Book 2. If you are looking for an imagination that explodes on the comic page, and a fantastic read to boot, then do yourself a favor and pick this book up.
Head over to https://www.theforeignercomic.com/ to pick up a copy.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10.