Zack Kaplan hit the comic book scene last year with his first book titled Eclipse, a story revolving around a solar event causing the Sun to have the capability to burn people alive. Kaplan captured lightning in a bottle his first go around, and Eclipse became a hit. Now he has returned with Port of Earth, a story about alien beings striking a deal with Earth to refuel their ships with our ocean water. But all deals have a cost. Does Zack capture lightning a second time? Let’s find out!
What is Port of Earth?
I basically broke it down in the previous paragraph, but allow me to go into more detail. The people of Earth have struck a deal with aliens. The aliens get to use our ocean to refuel their ships that operate on water in exchange for sharing their technology, allowing us the secret to turn water into energy, thus solving the Earth’s energy crisis. Seems simple, right? But it wasn’t! A few pesky visitors caused a ruckus in downtown San Francisco resulting in multiple deaths, as well as a billion dollars in property damage.
Enter the ESA, the Earth Security Agency: officers trained to handle the alien encounters if situations start to go sour, preferably without using lethal force. Kaplan introduces us to Rice and McIntyre, who fit the good cop/bad cop roles. The pair soon finds themselves on a murder case that foreshadows the events leading up to the second issue.
But Dave, is it good?
I had to prepare myself before reading Port of Earth #1. I really dig Kaplan’s Eclipse and knew that it was going to be hard for Port of Earth to grab me the same way Eclipse did. And I was right, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like Port of Earth. Kaplan has a decent setup here. I like the idea of water being turned into a source of energy and the fact that aliens are the ones that brought the technology to us.
The good cop/bad cop is a cliché that I don’t love. I know that the characters have to take shape and conform to the story, but for such an interesting story, I was hoping for a more interesting set of characters. I would have liked to have seen an alien paired up with a human, and despite their clear differences, work towards their common goal. Outside of the characters, I do have faith that Kaplan will continue to progress the story and have a twist thrown in here and there.
Andrea Mutti and Vladimir Popov’s artwork stands out and complements the story well. The art isn’t bright and colorful — it’s dark, moody, and adds to the grim sci-fi tone of the story. Port of Earth has the potential to be a solid comic book. There is a lot of exposition in this first issue, which I am fine with. Let’s get all of that out of the way so the focus can be on the murder mystery and the impact on how the deal with the aliens is crippling the economy by making certain jobs obsolete since water is now the number one source of energy. Port of Earth #1 is well worth your time. Check it out!