Aliens have landed on Earth. They’ve come not for war or peace, but for business. When a rogue alien leaves the spaceport and goes on the run, two of Earth’s Security Agents must track it down.
What I’ve found most impressive about Port of Earth is how seamlessly it works to establish and grow its mythos. We got a lot of information in the first issue that never felt exposition-heavy. This time around, there’s a segment from a news interview show that fleshes out the parameters of this intergalactic business deal, then perfectly seques into the ESA’s mission.
The Agents, McIntyre and Rice serve as a proxy for public opinion, arguing the merits of the aliens’ presence on Earth. Rice wants to play by the rules and bring this creature in by the book. Meanwhile, McIntyre is ready to kill it, feeling that just by escaping from the spaceport, it’s made a threat against humanity. This can serve as an allegory for how the United States treats immigrants too.
I’m not a huge fan of the word “gritty” but I think it works to describe Andrea Mutti’s artwork on Port of Earth, especially with the scenes with McIntyre and Rice. They’re walking through a dark, dingy sewer with shadows looming around them in search of an alien. Vladimir Popov’s colors add to this feeling, using light sparingly. You’re forced any shapes you see in the shadows, raising the tension like a good thriller.
When the alien is finally revealed, it’s given a full page image to see it in all its glory. At first, it doesn’t look too bad, but then its unnatural state sinks in. It’s the limbs. They’re disturbingly long, not to the point where it’s comical, but just enough to give you an uneasy feeling.
The colors appear washed out when the Agents get to the surface again. It’s not quite a dystopian landscape. Instead, it’s like a science fiction setting that didn’t quite reach the stars. We had dreams of vast space travel and adventure as a species and we’ve fallen way short. Instead, we have a big building where spaceships land sometimes and we can see them from afar.
Writer Zack Kaplan has established the rules of Port of Earth and now grows the story through McIntyre and Rice. This makes us care much more for this world as we have these two relatable characters to see it through. Where it started as a solid sci-fi comic, it’s branched out to become a tense thriller with a bit of intergalactic espionage.