Published on May 11th, 2018 | by Mark McKechnie
PORT OF EARTH #5 REVIEW
Summary: This is a great book focused on the question of what would happen if aliens came to Earth?
This is a great book focused on the question of what would happen if aliens came to Earth? In this future, they come not as conquerors, but as businessmen. The proposition for Earth is simple: they provide a solution for all of our energy woes, and we provide a port, a way point for galactic travelers. Hence, the Port of Earth is born. The story itself follows members of the Earth Security Agency, or E.S.A. for short, as they perform their duties. Protecting humans from aliens that have left the Port without permission, and them from us.
Every issue begins with a sit-down interview between a journalist and a high-ranking member of the E.S.A. In this issue the interview serves as a sort of exposition. Introducing us to the premise of the book, as well as to our two main characters. E.S.A. agents Eric McIntyre and George Rice are given quick profiles so even a new to the series reader can be brought up to speed on everything they need to know. This expositionary opening to the book gives it a unique feel and depth, allowing writer Zack Kaplan to explore the social and economic ramifications of this deal with the aliens as well.
From there the story itself begins. We find our two protagonists reeling from the events of the last issue, Agent Rice in particular. An encounter with an alien that had gone off port had gone badly. With Rice in particular seeming to have lost someone he loved. Agent McIntyre seems a lot more collected; and serves as more of a background character in this issue as the bulk of it focuses in on Rice as he is in the immediate aftermath of processing loss. Upon return to base McIntyre is assigned to a security detail for an important meeting, and Rice is sent for a psych evaluation. The E.S.A. appears to be a well-oiled machine, and it very much concerned with the mental and physical health of their agents. Especially given the importance of their duties.
The issue only picks up speed from there, first giving us hints that something might be wrong, first in the increased security presence brought by the aliens themselves. Then from a nagging feeling that Rice experiences and then investigates. The two hints are well developed over the last half of the issue and come together in an explosive cliff-hanger!
The art in this book is great. The colouring by Vladimir Popov is muted and restrained, allowing the focus to be on the details in the art itself. This serves to enhance, yet not overwhelm the images on the page. Andrea Mutti has a unique style with the art, strongly detailed in some regards, and gritty or grainy in others. It helps to create a feeling that we have entered a dangerous, beautiful and unpredictable world. The work between the covers is very much unique and breathes a lot of life into Kaplan’s version of Earth.
The cover is yet another strong point of the book. It appears to feature the world-famous statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro facing towards the sea, with the alien port in the background. The colours again are muted, with the statue being a bright yellow. Clearly designed to stand out and in juxtaposition to the alien structure at sea. The mix of a world-renowned landmark and the alien port in the background draw one’s eye to the cover immediately and get the imagination racing. This cover does a great job of selling this book.
This issue is an excellent sci-fi comic book. Kaplan does a good job creating a world just believable enough to get the reader really thinking this is how first contact with aliens could go. The little details, mentioned almost in passing during the interview section at the beginning go along way to fleshing out this world and making feel more real. The art also does a great job supporting this. It’s Earth in the near future, not the shiny paradise that it is often portrayed as, but dirty and broken in a lot of ways. This is an excellent read and given that it is the first book in a new arc, it is friendly to new readers as well.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!
CREATIVE TEAM: Zack Kaplan and Andrea Mutti
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
GENRE: Science Fiction
PUBLICATION DATE: May 09, 2018
REVIEWER: Mark Mckechnie