Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saucer Country #6

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Jimmy Broxton

Saucer Country is turning into a much more complicated and complex series than I first imagined, and where I was enjoying it before, now I'm also starting to respect it at a different level.

Paul Cornell uses this one-off issue as a way to reassess much of what has happened in the series so far, and place it in the larger context of the mythology and legend of UFO encounters and abductions.  Basically, this entire issue is given over to a presentation by the Harvard professor that Governor Alvarado has hired as her election team's inner circle's abduction expert.

In the first arc of this series, we learned that the Governor, who is running for president, and her ex-husband, had been abducted.  We also learned that a number of different interests have a stake in this situation, and that the entire country, if not the world, could be in danger.  The Governor decided that she would use her unique position, access, and political momentum to investigate and hopefully save the day.

So, in this issue, the Professor takes us from the earliest possible alien encounters - Romans meeting the gods, fairies taking humans to their lands, right up through Roswell, Communion, and Spielberg movies.  Through this issue, Cornell explores the social construction of aliens in the mind of the public, and how popular media has influenced it.  He shares the origin of the 'flying saucer' shape, and how it came to be perceived differently after the popularity of The X-Files showed something different.

I haven't spent much time reading about the history of this belief or sub-culture, so I don't know to what extent Cornell is making things up, or is relying on the historical narrative.  Everything he presents (through the character of the Professor) lines up neatly, and appears consistent.

This issue is drawn by Jimmy Broxton, best known for his brilliant work with Cornell on the under-rated Knight & Squire mini-series that DC put out prior to their relaunch.  Broxton uses a variety of styles and approaches to the various strange things he has to draw - I particularly liked the Roy Lichtenstein quality given to the page showing the first UFO sighting.  I love Ryan Kelly's work on this comic, but would not object to Broxton doing the occasional issue.

Even though we are only six issues into this series, this makes a very good jumping on point, especially for anyone with an interest in alien encounters who may not yet be reading this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

" I don't know to what extent Cornell is making things up, or is relying on the historical narrative."

It's all real, so to speak. Or rather, it's all stuff that has been reported as real at one time or another. There were a few moments when I felt a slight shock of recognition while reading this story, as it mentions things like the Mowing Devil and Serpo that have previously made the rounds on the Internet. He brings together a lot of obscure things that may not have been interpreted in this way before.