16
Mar
2012
Saucer Country #1
Review
Chris
Saucer Country #1
Publisher: DC/Vertigo Comics
Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciller: Ryan Kelly


Saucer Country represents a departure from what I've come to expect from Paul Cornell. And while I do love the kind of comic Paul Cornell is known for, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Saucer Country sets the bar high with its first issue, delivering something different but definitely welcome from one of my favorite "writers to watch" at the moment.

Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly introduce Governor Arcadia Alverado as she awakes from a confused nightmare on the side of a deserted road in New Mexico. From there we are introduced to a varied and interesting supporting cast as Alverado confronts her whirlwind schedule of governing the state, exploring a run for the presidency, and dealing with the confusing, nagging suspicion that something awful has happened to her.

Cornell doesn't give readers much time to become acclimated to any one scene or another. In fact the pace of this issue and lengthy, intelligent dialogue exchanges should remind readers of one of the favored marketing comparisons for this series: The West Wing. And while the dialogue isn't quite as snappy, nuanced or witty as Sorkin's, it definitely conveys character and implies relationships in a very effective way. The brisk pace of the story both mirrors the frenzy of the life of a highly positioned public servant and the confusion that Arcadia is trying to come to grips with. The final sequence is especially great, as what should be a moment for celebration takes on a deeper meaning for Arcadia, and becomes a major "oh shit" moment for her staff.

Ryan Kelly is someone I'm not very familiar with, but I think will be a good fit for this title. While the layouts aren't particularly as inventive I would like, especially in a book that deals with as many dream like states as this one will, Kelly compensates with his grip of anatomy, facial expression, and a knack for drawing crowd scenes which looks like it will come in handy given the nature of this title.

While I wish that the politics discussed in this issue were handled in a more in depth and intelligent explanation, I could see how that could be off putting for new readers. This series definitely has an uphill battle in terms of competing in a market place where flash often outperforms substance, but I for one am fully on board and excited for the ride.

Grade: B+

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