Vertigo, the creator owned imprint of DC Comics, has taken quite a hit over the past year. Both of writer Brian Wood’s critically acclaimed Vertigo books, DMZ and Northlanders, have been wrapped up, while Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera’s Scalped is drawing to a close as well. So what kind of fresh blood does Vertigo have waiting in the wings to help ease the pain of losing two of its flagship titles? Saucer Country, a book that mixes the thrilling political intrigue of Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina with the dark supernatural elements of The X-Files to create one of the best launch issues from Vertigo since Jeff Lemire exploded onto the comics’ scene with Sweet Tooth. Read on for the skinny…
The idea of an ongoing series that mixes together politics and alien abduction is an unlikely pairing, but writer Paul Cornell (Demon Knights, Stormwatch) and artist Ryan Kelly (Local, Northlanders) make it fit together seamlessly. The story revolves around presidential candidate Arcadia Alvarado, who gets abducted by aliens. Sounds simple, but the description barely scratches the surface of the multiple layers and interesting ideas that Cornell has cooking here. In just the first issue, Cornell manages to introduce all the key players of a complex supporting cast that includes Alvarado’s alcoholic ex-husband, a Republication strategist who wants to use Alvarado’s failed marriage as a tool for political gain, and an ex-Harvard University professor who suffers from intense hallucinations.
It seems as though Ryan Kelly was born to draw this series. His ability to showcase the emotional weight of the characters in their faces coupled with dark inks bring this book to life. Coupled with Cornell’s keen sense storytelling it allows Kelly to produce some of his best work yet.
The first issue of Saucer Country was one of the most impressive books I’ve read so far in 2012 and I’m dying to read issue #2. If Saucer Country stays this good, it’s going to be strong contender for Vertigo’s next hit series, so don’t miss it.