Watch the skies, true believers and experiencers, because Batman Eternal and Memetic writer James Tynion IV has teamed up again with his The House in the Wall collaborator Noah J. Yuenkel and artist Matthew Fox to bring BOOM! Studios a surprisingly hopeful tale of alien abduction: UFOlogy #1.
I ask the universe and the government agents listening through my fillings, is it good?
UFOlogy #1 (of 6) (Image Comics)
UFOlogy #1 opens with a delightful faux-postcard for the fictional town of Mukawgee, Wisconsin, rife with enough hints of Fortean phenomena to make any amateur anomalist smile. The first words to follow are those from a late-night, paranormal radio show, reminiscent of Art Bell’s infamous Coast to Coast AM. If Tynion and Yuenkel aren’t actually fans of the weird, they’ve certainly done their homework.
The story proper begins with high school senior Becky Finch reciting forensics procedures as she jogs. Her mantra is interrupted by an apparently unsolicited acceptance call from Stanford University. Never even had to write one of those “what I learned from my summer job” essays. Must be nice.
Or not. Finch makes it clear to the teacher that sent in her application that she’s not interested, and would rather follow her father into small-town police work, an echo for anyone who’s ever been told they should do more with their potential.
Contrast that with underclassman Malcolm Chamber, who gazes at the stars and longs to commune with the fantastic, as his now missing mother seems to have done 10 years previously. Chamber can’t fathom being called to greatness but hanging up the phone. That feeling is only exacerbated when he witnesses Finch being literally touched by the unknown, with profound effects that will surely be explored in the next five issues of this mini-series.
Is It Good?
This first issue is really just splendid. There are enough threads to make you wonder what the characters’ true motivations really are, hooking the reader in for more. The dialogue is lyrical but fairly clear; intriguing but not obtuse.
And that kind of makes UFOlogy special, and different from most other comics. There’s a sense of wonder of the unknown, even when it brings potential harm. The obligatory last page cliffhanger hints at something more sinister, but I hope the series doesn’t deviate too much from the tone it’s established here. There needs to be a place for whimsical, gee-whiz comics like one.
Matthew Fox is the perfect artist to bring the small town quaintness of Mukawgee to life, although beyond the simplicity, it’s almost larger than life. The dark pastel colors contribute to the creepy yet warm atmosphere, making me think of what an Easter holiday on Jupiter would be like.
UFOlogy #1 is a breath of fresh air, standing apart from the gore and grim of many comics with its sense of suspenseful awe. With a designated endpoint and the chance to tell a self-contained story, this book has the potential to become a gem that many look at fondly for years to come.