Saucer Country Vol. 2: The Reticulan Candidate (Vertigo/DC) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Saucer Country Vol. 2: The Reticulan Candidate


Sep 12, 2013 Issue #47 - September/October 2013 - MGMT Bookmark and Share

Saucer Country (written by Paul Cornell and illustrated by Ryan Kelly) tells the story of Arcadia Alvarado, the governor of New Mexico, who is abducted by aliens and then decides to run for President. The first few issues presented an intriguing, if troubling, premise: if all the lore we’ve heard about aliensthe abductions, the “probing,” the mysterious warnings, and so onwere true, it would be less charmingly kitschy and more terrifying and suggestive of kidnapping and sexual assault. Alvarado’s abduction lent the character an anger and a quest for justice missing from most sci-fi comics. Add to it the political intrigue of an Aaron Sorkin script, and you had one of comics’ most promising creator-owned series.

But now, after 14 issues, Saucer Country has been canceled by Vertigo. And sadly, it’s sometimes easy to understand why. Though issues 7-14 (collected in trade paperback form as Vol. 2) continue the intriguing plot twists and characters of the first issues, it can’t sustain the momentum of the same twists. Stories, narratives, motives, and lies fold in on each other so often it’s not always possible to know what’s going onand not in a good, X-Files kind of way, but in a bad, last-season-of-Lost-where-they-decided-to-try-everything kind of way.

Cornell and Kelly deserve some credit for trying to present a satisfying ending to at least this chapter of the storyone wonders what might have come of the closing issues had the series not been canceled. But overall, despite terrific art and good scripting, the story collapses a little under its own weight. In its rush to “ask big questions,” Saucer Country seems to forget that sometimes giving a few answers here and there isn’t such a bad idea. Cornell has spoken of trying to resurrect the series in 2014; one hopes that if he gets the chance, he’ll rediscover that heady mix of sci-fi, politics, and characterization that made Saucer Country so compelling in the first place. (

Author rating: 6/10

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