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Animorphs: The Visitor - Graphic Novel Review

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published October 23rd 2021
Rachel shines in her first solo graphic novel adventure
Animorphs The Visitor The Graphic Novel Book Review Christ Grine
Applegate, Grant & Grine. Scholastic.


Animorphs: The Visitor is the second book in the Animorphs series. It was written by K.A. Applegate and Michael Grant and published in June 1996. The graphic novel version was adapted by Eisner-Award nominee Chris Grine and published by Scholastic on 4 October 2021. The Visitor is the second Animorph graphic novel adaptation. The first book, The Invasion, was adapted by Grine and published by Scholastic on 6 October 2020. In May 2021, it was announced that the graphic novel adaptations will continue with Grine being paid to adapt The Message, The Predator and The Capture. Books 4, 5 and 6 are due to be released between 2023 and 2024.

Animorphs The Visitor The Graphic Novel Book Review Christ Grine
Applegate, Grant & Grine. Scholastic.

Each Animorph book is narrated by one of the six main protagonists. The Visitor is the first book told from the perspective of Rachel, one of the founding members of the Animorphs. In the original book series, the books were told in first person narration. The graphic novel adaptations are still told from the perspective of one character, but without the first-person narration. In my review of The Invasion, I commented that I did not like this change. I felt like the lack of first-person narration left a lot of things unsaid. It also meant that the graphic novels wouldn't contain the iconic opening line "My name is..." that each of the novels started with.

Animorphs The Visitor The Graphic Novel Book Review Christ Grine
Applegate, Grant & Grine. Scholastic.


In The Visitor, I felt much more satisfied with how Grine handled the story and the characters. Even without the first-person narration, he managed to get into the head of Rachel, and understand her character. Rachel starts off in the series as a typical teenager who was good at school and gymnastics and was obsessed with fashion and shopping. She was also known for having a temper. After she becomes an Animorph, she changes. She becomes more aggressive, bold and reckless. She starts to crave combat and getting herself into risky and high-adrenaline situations. We get a first look at Rachel's dark side in The Visitor. When a boy sexually harasses her on the street, instead of running away from him, Rachel lures him down a dark alleyway and then half morphs into an elephant to scare him. She could've easily gotten away from him, but she chose to use her powers to scare him for her own amusement.

In The Visitor, Rachel is still trying to come to terms with the fact that Earth is secretly being invaded by a parasitic race of aliens known as the Yeerks. The only defence the Earth has is she and her friends who were given the power to morph into animals by a dying Andalite and instructed to use their abilities to fight the Yeerks. After surviving a trip to the Yeerk pool in The Invasion, Rachel and the rest of the Animorphs are left wondering what their next step should be in the battle against the Yeerks. The kids decide to investigate their assistant principal, Mr Chapman, who they know is a human host to a high-ranking Yeerk official. Rachel volunteers to get close to Chapman's daughter, Melissa, who used to be a close friend of hers and infiltrate Chapman's house. It's a dangerous mission but Rachel is willing to take the risk on behalf of her friends and for Melissa.

I really enjoyed The Visitor. I thought it was a really faithful adaptation. Grine has really embraced the Animorphs fandom and it shows. With the exception of the narration, there are very little differences between the original novel and the graphic novel. I thought that Grine did a great job with the illustrations. His use of colour and shadow is great and he really nailed the body horror that Animorphs is known for. When Rachel becomes a shrew for the first time, her face bulges out horrifically, and she looks terrified.

Another thing that I liked about The Visitor was how Grine was able to show us different sides of Rachel. In some scenes, she is a scared and vulnerable thirteen-year-old girl, who is terrified of her morphing powers. In other scenes, she's full of rage and itching to do violence against the Yeerks. We get a glimpse of the rage building inside her after she sneaks into Chapman's house morphed as a cat. As she morphs back to human, we see a close up of her face. It is quivering with rage. Rachel decides in that moment that she doesn't care how long it will take or what she will have to do. She hates the Yeerks and will do anything she can to stop them. It's a decision that will change her life forever.
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Why? What will Rachel find when she infiltrates the home of their assistant principal Mr Chapman who is a human host of a parasitic alien known as a Yeerk?
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