Synopsis: In The Collector: Unit 731. Facing the horrors of history . . . A man can go by many names, and when someone has been around as long as Michael, he can gain more than just a few aliases. Now he’s Michael Smith, but back in the 1940s he went by James. When the obituary for John, who Michael met during WWII, comes up in the paper, Michael finds himself reflecting on a lifetime he left behind–and the horrors and experimentation he, John, and others, endured at the infamous Manchuria-based Japanese facility known as Unit 731.
As the synopsis above suggests. Michael Smith has lived several lifetimes and collected much over the years. When a newspaper article informs him about the death of an old friend. Michael thinks back to his time during the second world war when him and John were captured and charged as Spies by the Japanese. Taken as prisoners of war. Michael and John were taken to Unit 731. A Japanese Prisoner of War camp where the prisoners are experimented on by a Japanese scientist who is researching biological weapons.
Will Conrad does a fantastic job of the artwork in this book. He captures perfectly the bleakness and moodiness of what you can only really imagine a Japanese POW camp would be like. I particularly enjoyed how well the artwork synced up with Michael’s narration of the events as he looks back to that time in his life.
The final page is pretty brutal as we see Michael showing the symptoms of the disease that the Japanese have infected him with.
A really strong opening issue. The setup was nicely executed and Michael’s narration of events was well executed as were the panels where we see the scientist reporting to his superior.
I’ve always been fascinated with immortal or long-lived characters as seen in shows such as Highlander and the short-lived NBC series Forever. As they are a cool plot device to explore bite-sized bits of history with. And while this is neither Highlander or Forever. I’m really looking forward to reading more of this story as it evolves over the next few issues.