Here it is, the end of the line for Malcolm Chamber and the once-reluctant Becky Finch. Or is it? And is it good?
UFOlogy #6 (BOOM! Studios)
Oh, Dr. Lehrer, you cad. Your inquisitiveness might have doomed us all! Unless Becky can figure out a way to get 10-years dormant alien technology to work with only a hallucination to help her.
Ah-ha, but we didn’t know the whole story. Neither did Malcolm’s dad or Dr. Lehrer! Revelations for us, but the characters are kept in the dark.
Wait, who’s that shadowy figure talking about the military, alien DNA project? Oh. OOOOOOOOHHHHHH.
Is It Good?
No mincing words here — the final issue of UFOlogy by writers James Tynion IV and Noah J. Yuenkel is easily the worst of this six-issue mini-series. There are some fun language bits, and the art by Matthew Fox and Adam Metcalfe is still stellar (some really interesting layouts in particular), but the plot structure is downright baffling.
The strangest decision is probably to put the story’s climax only two thirds of the way into this issue, leaving seven whole pages to set up a possible sequel. Remember when everyone dumped on Iron Man 2 because of the endless dialogue with Nick Fury about the Avengers? Yeah, it’s like that. Denouement and foreshadowing are great, but not when done excessively at the expense of the story you’re currently telling. If that stuff had been chopped in half, the jam-packed fifth issue could have spread into #6 a little and made for a much more even, satisfying conclusion.
Just about all the questions from the series are answered, though, so it’s not like there’s anything left unfairly dangling. But I still wonder what the ultimate message of UFOlogy is. I don’t think it’s “follow your dreams,” because that’s kind of what got the Earth into trouble in the first place. It’s probably not “be open to new experiences,” because that’s how a goopy, half-assed alien hybrid army was created. Maybe it’s that stuff just happens and you can’t control it, as yet another hallucination verbalizes somewhere in those final seven pages. If that’s the message, I can get down with it, but the delivery is anything but clear.
There are several nice payoffs and callbacks in the main body of UFOlogy #6 that reward readers, but man, don’t expect any of that if the story continues. Given what we see at the end, there’s simply no way the book can maintain the tone it’s set in this initial volume. That might not be the worst thing, as sometimes it’s nice to see creators play with genres, but a sequel to UFOlogy — one the creators have stretched mightily to set up — would likely feel like a completely different book. The reveal of who’s now pulling the military strings, for instance, is more screwball than curveball. The image alone elicits more of a chuckle than a gasp.
UFOlogy #6 is a disappointing end to what was shaping up to be a uniquely fun series. The conclusion is sort of satisfying, but it’s a little ambiguous exactly how the day was saved. The tacked on trailer not only seems out of place, but takes this story in a completely different, unfamiliar direction that probably just won’t align with the characters as we know them. It’s worth picking up if you’re already invested, and I wouldn’t shy away from recommending the eventual collected volume, but it’s a shame to see a talented creative team with a great hook stumble at the finish line like this.