The disturbances in Mukawgee, Wisconsin have awoken something in a military bunker. But is it friend or foe? And is it good?
UFOlogy #2 (BOOM! Studios)
The jury’s still out on the first question, as the army man who slithers from a pod like Neo being flushed from the Matrix promptly shuffles out of the narrative almost as soon as he arrives. After seeing him start to stir at the end of issue #1, and before he disappears here, we begin to get a better idea of what kind of contingencies our trusty government has put into place to combat the weird things that would someday visit our planet.
Of course we the readers know this isn’t the first time interstellar travelers have stumbled on our pale blue orb, at least if you believe high school student Malcolm Chamber. He even expected their return at this time, as it’s the 10th anniversary of his mother’s mysterious disappearance. What he didn’t expect was for newfound acquaintance Becky Finch to be the one touched by the unknown, putting her in a hospital bed with a strange, spiral pattern on her left cheek.
When Becky’s father arrives to check on her, we discover the small town sheriff knows something about the decade-old incident, too. We already saw that her teacher Geoff Lehrer was aware, and we later learn Malcolm’s dad has been keeping secrets, too. But why? Lehrer says it’s to protect Malcolm. Hmm…
But Malcolm’s full of dangerous pluck, seeking out the man (or monster) that put Becky in the hospital, and finding that the guy recently closed a scrap metal art exhibit outside of town. But what’s that thing that Malcolm sees when he arrives there? And who was that goopy guy at the hospital? Was it the same guy as before? Why is Becky having visions? So many questions!
Is It Good?
The beginning scene with the human secret weapon continues the momentum from the first issue, with a lot of visual cues that lead the reader to figure out what’s going on, without being force-fed info. A great collaboration between writer James Tynion IV and artist Matthew Fox – the true definition of “showing” rather than “telling.”
Things go a bit south from there, as all the heartwarming-but-slightly-unnerving moments from #1 are absent, in favor of non-stop plot development. I guess that’s fine, as it’s clear Tynion is weaving an intricate story, and it’s definitely one that works. I just personally hoped the book would keep that tone of awesome wonder as the tale unfolded. Maybe next issue.
Adam Metcalfe’s colors continue to shine, but they’re muted somewhat by the nighttime setting in the back half of the book. They still stand out, but can’t reach the same sublime level as before.
UFOlogy #2 did pretty much everything I was afraid it would, but Tynion’s teasing writing style is tantalizing enough to keep anyone engaged. He started a lot plates spinning here, so I still worry that characters may continue suffering in service of the plot, but I also get the feeling there are a lot of surprises still in store. This issue is a step down from the team’s brilliant start, but not one so great that it should turn anyone off.