Saucer Country #1
Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Ryan Kelly
Colors by Giulia Brusco
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Cover by Ryan Kelly
Created by Paul Cornell & Ryan Kelly
Release date: March 14, 2012
Although Vertigo Comics might have hooked me with Neil Gaiman’s classic Sandman series decades ago, I’ve stuck around all these years because the DC imprint’s line of mature comics has rarely disappointed. With gems like Brian K. Vaughan’s Y: The Last Man, Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, and Bill Willingham’s Fables and its spin-offs, Vertigo has proven time and again that, plain and simple, they make awesome comics, ones that eventually become classics, embedded in our pop culture.
With Saucer Country, a new series created by writer Paul Cornell and artist Ryan Kelly, it looks like Vertigo has another winner on their hands.
New Mexico Governor Arcadia Alvarado plans to run for President on the Democratic ticket and while you’d think that being an Hispanic female divorcée with an alcoholic ex-husband would be the biggest of her hurdles in the election, it turns out, those aspects of her life are actually helpful to her campaign. The true cause of her difficulties is the alien abduction she experienced on the eve of her official bid for the U.S. Presidency. Although a bit traumatized, Arcadia is determined to go forward with her candidacy, only now she has a new platform for her campaign – to expose the alien invaders!
You read words like aliens and UFOs and you think maybe this is some hokey comic about a crazy lady politician, but Saucer Country #1 is some serious business. Paul Cornell gives us a strong woman with a lot of power and responsibility; unfortunately, there is some doubt as to whether the New Mexico Governor was actually abducted. As we get to know Arcadia, I’m sure we’ll understand why she’s having these flashes of an alien encounter and what these otherworldly experiences actually mean.
Cornell, who’s written for DC’s Demon Knight series and penned several Doctor Who episodes, comics, and novels, also introduces us to all the secondary characters swiftly and easily. Right away we know who everyone is and what their initial roles are without any kind of lengthy narration or strained exposition, which is refreshing. There’s also a secondary storyline that follows Joshua Kidd, a Harvard University professor who’s an expert on UFO and alien lore who’s having his own set of difficulties. While Arcadia gets the spotlight in Saucer Country #1, Kidd definitely makes for an interesting character — I actually would have liked to read more of his story in this issue. I’m sure these two characters will undoubtedly cross paths in later issues.
The art by Ryan Kelly (Local, Lucifer) is impressive on this first issue, with the Grey-style aliens being the stand-out (think Alien Autopsy and The X-Files). Giulia Brusco‘s colors accentuate the creatures, making them a haunting vision. The layout of the book is easy on the eyes and the panels make it so that you actually know what’s going on in the story, even with all the mystery surrounding the alien activities. Letterer Sal Cipriano fit the dialogue in perfectly throughout the issue and set a great tone for the alien portions of the book. Saucer Country #1 could have easily become confusing, with so much information to digest and the psychological aspects to dissect, but this creative team really worked well together yielding a great result.
With Saucer Country #1 I get the feeling that I’ve just gotten in on the ground floor of what’s sure to become a beloved classic comic book series and that one day we will look back on this first issue in wonderment and think “I can’t believe all that’s happened since then.”
Saucer Country #1 gets 5 alien probes out of 5.