Space Journey is Tommy and his friends’ favorite show, but does that make them prepared for an actual alien encounter?
Loving a sci-fi show doesn’t necessarily prepare you for a UFO crash landing in your backyard but that’s exactly what happens to Tommy in They Fell from the Sky #1.
What makes They Fell from the Sky a special first issue is the fact that, even if an alien had never showed up, this would still be an excellent series (and the alien doesn’t show up until the end so if writer, Liezl Buenaventura, and artist, Xavier Tárrega, were really relying on him/her/they, they would’ve introduced the alien sooner).
The way the issue is structured, They Fell from the Sky begins with Tommy hearing the sound of the UFO, before going back to show what happened earlier that day. If I had to say anything critical about this issue it’s that I don’t think this structure was necessary. Yes, it would’ve meant readers having to go on good faith that an alien was coming but because Buenaventura and Tárrega don’t return to the exact moment they cut away from when the issue returns to the present day (namely Tommy in his tree house), it takes a moment to remember this story isn’t being told in chronological order.
It’s the family dynamics that really sell this series, though. The friendships are great, too (and letterer, Joamette Gil, does a great job handling a lot of dialogue where characters aren’t in the same room together, so you have the zig zag tails for the bubbles when the sound is coming from earbuds or little color identifiers to tell who’s talking) but there’s something so exciting about the sibling relationship between Tommy and his older sister, Kat. Kat may have a public image to protect but she also cares about her little brother, and that internal conflict is endlessly fascinating to watch.
Then there’s Tommy and his parents, and it took a few readings for me to pick up on this but at one point Kat and Tom start arguing at the kitchen table. The whole time Tárrega has Tommy’s dad continue to read the paper while Tommy’s mom tries to play peacekeeper. It’s such a dad move and it’s completely visual. Later when Tommy and his dad get in a fight his dad uses his full name, Thomas, and Gil makes sure to put it in bold, so you really feel the full impact of “Thomas” versus “Tommy.”
DJ Chavis did the colors (with color assists by Barry Hall) and they’re often much more lush and flattering then you would expect from the lighting of a typical kitchen or school, but this issue is so pretty to look at, especially thanks to the shading.
As for the alien, Buenaventura and Tárrega don’t go the traditional root, in terms of appearance, and it promises to be a lot of fun. Tárrega also lets readers see the alien before Tommy does, so you get to form your own opinion first. The cover plays with proportions a bit so it might not be entirely accurate.
They Fell From the Sky #1 goes on sale Wednesday February 3rd from Mad Cave Studios.