No humans are allowed at the port, but ESA agents Rice and McIntyre are about to change that as they’re tracking down an alien terrorist. This foe has eluded them for some time now and it’s about to slip through their fingers if they don’t act fast. Plus, Rice has a personal stake in this fight as this alien is responsible for the death of his girlfriend. They’re about to enter an unknown territory.
It’s been interesting to see how the roles have reversed between Rice and McIntyre. When Port of Earth started, Rice was the cautious one and McIntyre had the rebellious streak. Seeing your significant other die in front of you can have a sobering effect on someone. This man is determined to get this criminal and make sure it sees justice.
Port of Earth #7 gets right to it with a blockbuster-esque helicopter scene. Rice and McIntyre fly into the port with a befuddled and worried pilot. Artist Andrea Mutti creates this impressive backdrop of the aircraft flying into the mysterious port. It’s surrounded by an intimidating naval blockade that looks ready to shoot down anything suspicious. The port looms in the distance like an unearthly spire.
You practically need sunglasses for this scene thanks to colorist Vladimir Popov. The sun hangs in the sky permeating bright light that cuts through all it sees, revealing the port in all its otherworldly glory. It makes for some pretty breathtaking shots as the issue really gets going.
Of course, this is only the beginning as Rice and McIntyre have no idea what to expect when they enter the port itself. Where Mutti has already created well-detailed and jaw-dropping futuristic scenery and weapons. Here he goes full on into sci-fi mode with some incredible designs that really highlight just how out of their element these two agents are. This is nothing like their usual beat. They might as well have left the planet altogether with how strange everything looks from here.
Another element that adds to the sci-fi quality of this issue is how the ESA agents are greeted when they enter. A floating robot welcomes them without a spec of emotion. Letterer Troy Peteri plays this up with a computer-like font in a stark red. Based on this, I half expect it to push the guys out of an airlock or something.
Even in this new environment, Port of Earth still has this gritty quality to it. This is a great feature of Mutti’s style that matches the tone of the series perfectly. This is more true for the aliens in this case as this is their home turf so it can be a little more lived the lobby.
The news drone that’s been following these two ESA agents has become an ominous and ever-present threat. Everything Rice and McIntyre do is being filmed and will be used against them in the not too distant future. At times they appear to forget it’s there, but every so often they remember and take a moment to regroup. We see it regularly, looming over the agents like a dark omen.
As exciting as the bulk of Port of Earth #7 is, it’s matched in tension by the opening pages featuring the continued TV interview of ESA Director Tom Rutgers. The revelations in each issue keep getting bigger. Every one reframes the story a bit, which should lead to multiple repeat readings as you’ll look at everything with a new set of eyes. This interview highlights the corruption at play and how the government tried to cover it up.
Port of Earth is a sci-fi story like no other. It blends the high-stakes drama of a police procedural with the excitement of a fast-paced thriller and tosses in a few aliens for good measure. I am so very curious where writer Zack Kaplan is taking this story as it has been an unpredictable and fun ride so far.