Earth Security Agents Rice and McIntyre and dealing with the fallout of their latest mission that left a rogue alien visitor and Rice’s girlfriend dead. The two are separated after this with McIntyre assigned to a special security detail and Rice sent for counseling. Of course, just because they’ve been through a lot recently doesn’t mean they’re exempt from more chaos. They seem to be magnets for mayhem even when they’re apart.
You’d think that Rice would have time to catch his breath a bit as he went through some pretty harsh trauma. Instead, he uncovers something that could lead to even more deaths if he doesn’t act fast. His grief spreads through his whole body. He’s slouching and carries his head low, like his sorrow is pulling him down into a fetal position even when standing. As this new revelation starts to work its way through his head, this posture changes. His eyes light up again as he realizes the danger he’s inadvertently caused.
The opening pages of Port of Earth continue to feature the scathing WNN interview with ESA Director Tom Rutgers. The host is holding his feet to the fire, asking hard questions that reveal much about this world and the corruption that has plagued even the relationship with alien races. This scene sets the tone for the entire issue, especially since this one deals with rogue aliens.
Artist Andrea Mutti flashes to a scene of some ESA Agents hunting an alien creature. This thing is horrifying, like a bizarre, more violent version of an octopus. A local farmer is powerless against its strength as he’s literally torn apart. It’s a gruesome scene that’s made even more chilling by what appears on the agent’s translation screen. It opens up some new questions about what’s really going on with this port that makes the series even more intriguing.
Mutti’s pencils, along with Vladimir Popov’s colors create this gritty, moderately futuristic look. I love the idea of the human race reaching for the stars and falling short. That sounds horrible, but it makes for some really cool storytelling possibilities. Port of Earth shows mankind still looking to space, but our feet have not yet left the ground despite all these alien beings that come so close to us on a regular basis.
The art direction raises the tension steadily throughout this issue. It starts out slower as Rice and McIntyre regroup only to ramp up like the first hill in a roller coaster. The final pages hit with a bang as a few things come together in an exciting cliffhanger.
Port of Earth is back and I could not be happier. This is a solid, realistic science-fiction tale mixed with an action-packed thriller. Writer Zack Kaplan is crafting a great cop story…with aliens. You know that The Shield would have been even better if Michael Chiklis busted an alien here or there.