The Mexican-American Governor of New Mexico and leading Democratic candidate for the President of The United States, Arcadia Alvarado, manages to simultaneously head off a political attack against her (due to her ex-husband’s innocently damaging revelations about aliens) while gaining some insight into the strange extraterrestrial activities that she has been experiencing. With her good name and campaign hopes still intact, much to the consternation of her political enemies, Alvarado ponders her next move with her campaign team. It’s a move that embodies more than just campaigning though. Meanwhile, her ex-husband has a revelation of his own that may or may be even more dangerous than the fact that “aliens are among us…”
Building slowly with a concentrated goal in mind, Paul Cornell’s Vertigo series Saucer Country concludes its first arc on a high note. As is always the case with Vertigo comics, when one tires of the incessant superhero crossover events, and at times boring super-fisticuffs between scantily clad female superheroes (well, those aren’t quite as boring as I might make them sound…), brilliant sequential art series like Saucer Country are just what one needs. Cornell is rapidly joining the Vertigo greats of the past by building a smart, commentary packed, and taunt thriller of a series where each issue leaves the reader wanting more…and wanting to know more.
Therein is the only potential fault of the series, not from an artistic standpoint, but from a commercial one. Today’s ADD culture might not decide to stick around and see where Cornell is taking us in Saucer Country. To the intelligent reader seeking an alternative to the usual comic book fare, and who desires mystery and an intricately plotted narrative, Saucer Country is a godsend. To the average comic book reader seeking cheap thrills though, Saucer Country might be a snooze fest. All I can say is keep reading, buying, and telling your comics reading friends about this book. Also, keep re-reading it. Much can be gleaned from reading through the past issues that gives clues to where the story is going.
Ryan Kelly’s artistic style fits Cornell’s narrative excellently. His mundane portrayals of the main characters starkly contrasts with his images of the aliens creating the type of startling contrasts between the real and the fantastic that The X-Files did so visually, and masterfully, each episode.
Saucer Country isn’t on par with The X-Files yet as far as legendary sci-fi about aliens (illegal or otherwise) goes, but if readers keep up with Saucer Country, I have a strong feeling that Cornell will get this series there. Read this book.