“Saucer Country” #1 delivered a strong first issue courtesy of Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly, but with the main thrust of the series being delivered on the final page — the revelation that Governor Arcadia Alvarado and her ex-husband Michael were abducted by aliens — it could literally go anywhere from there. So it was with a little trepidation that I approached the second issue. Imagine my delight to see that it went in the best way possible.
It’s a relief to see Arcadia handle this news in the most rational way possible. Cornell has created a character who’s supposed to be savvy enough to be running for President of the United States, and this is the moment where we begin to believe it. Her calm admittance that she can’t tell the world is good, and her reasons for wanting to delve further into the experience is a moment of grace under pressure. You can believe that this is a woman that’s already Governor of New Mexico, and whose star is rising. The reaction of Arcadia’s two confidents is handled well, too. They’re at slightly different ends of the spectrum, but they’re both realistic approaches, even as they provide a nice bit of contrast. It’s the start of a good supporting cast for “Saucer Country.”
What I appreciated the most, though, was that Cornell is providing two possibilities for every character “touched” by the aliens. Even the slightly nutty professor that’s seeing images of the Voyager spacecraft humans has someone not connected with it all see one of the things that he witnesses. So is it proof of aliens? Or just a huge coincidence that’s unexplained? Cornell hasn’t locked “Saucer Country” in just yet, which feels wise this early in the game. Even Michael, Arcadia’s ex-husband, is getting a larger role than one would expect. His confusion over what’s going on is intriguing, and while we’re initially led to believe that he’s a sleaze ball, it’s hard to keep from mustering a bit of sympathy for him. I appreciate that.
Kelly’s art looks just as great as it did on comics like “Local” and “The New York Four.” Michael lounging in a cheap motel looks unsexy and real, and Arcadia manages to run the gamut from composed to quietly worried as the script demands. You can tell that Arcadia’s developed an excellent poker face from her time as Governor, even as she lets the slightest crack show in the face of disturbing revelations at the doctor’s office. And when we get to the final page of the issue, well, Kelly takes Cornell’s idea and runs with it beautifully. The addition of one additional element into the page works perfectly, meshing into the existing structure in such a way that you can keep finding new instances the longer you look.
“Saucer Country” has delivered a strong second issue, and if I had any doubts they’ve been erased. Cornell and Kelly are giving readers a great new series here. I’d have to be abducted by aliens before I missed another issue of “Saucer Country.” This is well worth your time.