*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD*
On the eve of announcing her Presidential run, Arcadia Alvarado (and her ex-husband, Michael) were abducted by aliens. She told only the closest people to her (advisor Harry Brooks and campaign strategist Chloe Saunders). She brought in Professor Joshua Kidd to help study UFO phenomenon. Together, their team discovered that someone was trying to manipulate Kidd and Michael with hallucinations. Michael’s visions of fairies give him a way to ward off the hallucinations. Now, Alvarado will use her newfound power to try and figure out what happened to her. But all she recalls is the “alien leader” telling her one thing: “You are us. You belong to us. Soon you will all know that.”
Described as The X-Files meets The West Wing, this series is about Arcadia Alvarado running for president despite her experiences and fears, and how extraterrestrial life forms are keeping tabs on her campaign. At the end of this issue, we get a pretty surprising twist that introduces a whole new problem for Alvarado and her team of confidants.
This is a direct continuation of Saucer Country, a Vertigo Comics series by the same creative team. It takes place a few weeks after the end of the last series, so readers of the original will know what’s going on, and new readers can certainly pick up at this issue, too. Saucer Country was cancelled due to its inability to keep a solid monthly readership, but this new series will definitely change that.
Paul Cornell’s writing is just as strong in this series as it was in the last. The sneaky scandal of the political world comes through with a ton of conviction as we see what’s really going on between the Republican and Democratic parties. It’s pretty dangerous to include politics in comic books, particularly these days with the current state of the government in the U.S. But Cornell handles it perfectly, striking a stunning balance between parties and their respective dynamics within the government as a whole.
The previous characters of Saucer Country are back and doing a lot with their lives. Alvarado is determined to find out what happened to her, Professor Kidd is looking into the military side of things, Michael is having new and concerning mysticism in his life, and Chloe is going over to the Republican side of things. The kicker of this issue, though, comes with the cliffhanger at the end. Alvarado has her work cut out for her when a UFO appears and contact is made. The aliens are on their way, and Alvarado has a limited amount of time to decide what to do about it.
Kelly’s illustrations in this issue are more advanced than those in the original story. It’s awesome to see how he has changed as an artist and how his style has developed. We get a certain sense of realism combated with the mythological pencils of fairies, extraterrestrials, and a silver space lady. Having a story so grounded by politics but up in the air with science fiction is fantastic. Kelly is able to perfectly balance the two into an urgent, dramatic, and suspenseful issue. The inking is thick with heavy line work and dark shadows to depict the more ominous tone of the script. Characters are anatomically correct, well thought out, and expressive. It’s all very convincing, and it makes this series all the more entertaining that the original creative duo is back on the story.
If you’re into political stories and/or UFO/extraterrestrial mythology, this series is one that you can’t afford to miss out on. IDW will also be publishing the first 14 issues of Saucer Country, so be sure to read up on what happened before the events of this series, too!
Written by: Paul Cornell
Illustrated by: Ryan Kelly