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Saucer Country: Run (Vertigo, 2012; #1-6)

Just before announcing her presidential campaign, New Mexican Governor Arcadia Alvarado has a close encounter.  She decides to use her campaign as a way to find the truth about the aliens who abducted her and their message:  “You are us.  You belong to us.  Soon you will all know that.”

There are plenty of stories about government agents searching for the truth—which may or may not be out there—about extraterrestrial goings-on.  But Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s take on that idea flips the script: by having a presidential candidate investigating, they bring a different kind of secrecy to the table.  If the public finds out, her credibility and electability go up in smoke.  And she lacks the clearance or authority that characters in this position usually have.  It raises the stakes for Alvarado’s win—she’s aware of a coming threat and needs to be in a position to counter it.  As a result, Saucer Country is not just a shadowy conspiracy story, but a political drama.

Often, science fiction comics’ art shines in its weirdest moments.  But Kelly, Braxton, and Sudžka’s line-work in Saucer Country grounds itself in the mundane.  Bars, offices, campaign speeches—these are the places where most of the book plays.  Keeping weird moments few and far between lets them be unnerving when they do pop up.  By the same token, Brusco, Loughridge, and Peter’s colors lean into warm, natural tones, with cool colors and greens reserved for anxious moments.

“Run” is a strong introduction to Saucer County.  It asks questions and introduces the characters and ideas that will play out as the series continues, but it’s too early for any answers to come into focus.  If you like political drama and sci-fi stories, then look into Saucer Country.  It runs two trades; and a new series, Saucer State, began last week to continue the story.

Collected in

  • Saucer Country, Vol. 1: Run (#1-6, Strange Adventures #1)


Writer: Paul Cornell | Artists: Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Braxton, Goran Sudžuka | Colorists: Giulia Brusco, Lee Loughridge, Cris Peter | Letterer: Sal Cipriano | Covers: Ryan Kelly

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