Thursday, March 15, 2012

Saucer Country #1

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Ryan Kelly

It's kind of a shame that Saucer Country had to debut the same week as Saga, because while this is a very good comic, it is definitely going to be overshadowed by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples's masterpiece.

Saucer Country is a dense first issue - I went back and counted the pages, because Cornell and Kelly fit a lot into just 20 pages.  The book introduces the readers to the Governor of New Mexico, Arcadia Alvarado.  She is a divorced Latina Democrat who has been considering taking a stab at the Presidency.  When the book opens, she is in a car with her ex-husband, and something strange has gone on.  He has some cuts and bruises, but neither of them can account for the last couple of hours.  Obviously, this has her security team quite upset.

As the book progresses, Arcadia wrestles with the decision she has to make - whether she should announce her candidacy or not.  She hires a Republican strategist, who suggests that by suggesting that her ex-husband was abusive, she would be able to lock down large numbers of votes.  Arcadia's bad dreams suggest something like that may have happened to her, but her epiphany, during a speech about illegal aliens, has more to do with the extraterrestrial kind.

This is very much a comic of the moment, and I like that it is being written by a British writer who is able to explore the American political zeitgeist from an outsider's perspective (which, being Canadian, makes sense to me).  We seem to be touching on a lot of the themes that make Americans jumpy - immigration, abortion, and race, and that's always interesting.  I wonder how this comic has played on Fox News.

It's very nice to see Ryan Kelly working on a monthly title again.  I've been a fan of his since I started reading Local (still one of the greatest comics I've ever experienced), and I feel that he's an excellent artist to pull off a series like this.  I'm on the fence with most of the rest of the new wave of Vertigo titles, but expect to be with this one for the long-run.

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