Review: Saucer State #3

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
September 2nd, 2017

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

Review: Saucer State #3
Comics
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Review of: Saucer State #3

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On September 2, 2017
Last modified:September 2, 2017

Summary:

A down to Earth, political, sci-fi series. The script is engaging and the artwork is a perfect mix of realism and outlandish fantasy. A continued must read.

Review of: Saucer State #3

Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On September 2, 2017
Last modified:September 2, 2017

Summary:

A down to Earth, political, sci-fi series. The script is engaging and the artwork is a perfect mix of realism and outlandish fantasy. A continued must read.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Aliens are coming and the President has more problems than she realizes in the latest issue of Saucer State. Our contributor, Darryll Robson, takes a look at the new issue from IDW to see how everything is holding up.

Political turmoil, fears of invasion, civil unrest, and fake news. Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s Saucer State is uncannily relevant in the current political climate and they do not shy aware from making real world comparisons.

Part sci-fi adventure, part scientific reasoning, and part social commentary, Saucer State is appealing on a number of levels but is it still as gripping as previous issues?

Saucer State

Credit: IDW Publishing

Synopsis

Following on from the shocking ‘Alien Baby’ cliff-hanger from last issue, President Alvarado starts in a dream state, where she is given a warning from the Greys.

While the President holds a meeting on Air Force One, the Republican Adam Dunfries holds a press conference where he belittles the President and her actions in office. Chloe accidentally eats the ‘magic cake’ given to Michael by the fairies only he can see.

Story continues below

These challenging times allow President Alvarado to do what she does best, fight ignorance and confront bullies, while Michael goes in search of drugs.

Meanwhile the Bluebirds prepare to meet the Aliens after receiving the message from their founder, Joe Bermingen.

It all sounds a touch crazy when you put it like that, however, in this issue the mysteries deepen and battle lines are drawn.

Analysis

Paul Cornell is a British writer looking at American politics and, judging from Saucer State, he doesn’t like what he sees. It’s difficult to know how much of the narrative was planned out years ago, when he was writing Saucer Country, but it would be fair to say that the character of Adam Dunfries is a reaction to current affairs. He is arrogant, self-involved, rude and self-destructive. His role in the comic is to provide a hateful adversary for the President to focus on while the sci-fi narrative unfolds. Dunfries offers a grounding for the story that is greatly needed in the melee of aliens, magical fairies and conspiracies. The fact that he gives Cornell and Ryan a chance to comment on the current American administration is a pleasing bonus.

Luckily the real President is too busy to read comics otherwise the creators might be the focus of a merciless tweet or two.

Beyond political commentary, the narrative weaves a complicated web. If you’re not paying attention you may get lost as the story jumps from one group of characters to another. Pay close attention and you will be rewarded. Each scene extends the mysteries without explaining anything; we’re too early in the run to expect much information about what is actually going on. Cornell’s gripping script keeps the reader engaged in the face of uncertainty. Just like the early series of the X-Files, where the alien threat was merely hinted at, the heart of this comic is not alien invasions but emotionally driven characters. Alvarado, as the president, has a difficult task trying to process all that is happening to her so she naturally jumps at the chance to engage Dunfries in political. This is where her true strength lies, as previously detailed in Saucer Country.

Saucer State

Credit: IDW Publishing

This issue has some surprisingly funny moments, aside from the satirical Trump-bashing. There is a moment involving magical cake and, later, an army aid is subjected to an awkward request. In both instances their facial expressions are priceless. Nearly as funny as Michael’s ‘pretend phone call’ at one point in the story. There is a look exchanged between Alvarado and Chloe which just says it all; a silent panel that speaks a thousand words.

Ryans’ artwork is wonderfully down to Earth for such an outlandish story. When the script requires it Ryan pushes the fantasy boat out, as seen with the design for Michael’s fairies, but for the most part the characters and settings are ordinary. They could be sketches based on scenes from the The West Wing or another political drama.

This style gives the narrative more believability than an outlandish approach would. The alien baby, although itself is a difficult concept to get across, is so naturally drawn with Alvarado's reaction, correctly holding the baby and protecting the child’s head, speaks volumes about her character. The reader also instantly accepts that the baby is, or could be, real. The dream becomes more realistic and therefore has more significance. It reads more like a prophetic dream rather than just a distracting vision.

Story continues below

There is a lot going on in this issue and the nature of the story means that a lot of this is conversation. Cornell, however, is skilful enough to tell this kind of dialog heavy story. He creates an engrossing drama full of suspense, conflict and comedy. There is a cast of rounded characters, each with their own backgrounds and secrets waiting to be told. The central premise isn’t new but it has been given an interesting spin. The abductees are positioned in the highest office in the world, theoretically with access to whatever they need

The comic is still accessible if you’ve not read any previous issues, or Saucer Country. A reader needs to pay attention but it is easy to catch up on the story, helped by the ‘story so far’ page. If you are a fan of sci-fi or human drama I would recommend reading Saucer State. If you can, read the whole thing but the best place to start is with this issue as it’s out this week.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson

Saucer State #3

  • 4
A down to Earth, political, sci-fi series. The script is engaging and the artwork is a perfect mix of realism and outlandish fantasy. A continued must read.

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