Port of Earth #1
What will first contact with aliens be like? Port of Earth starts with a look at how excited humans are to finally make that first contact. Ready to advance their tech with the aid of their alien benefactors, humanity rushes to set up a space port in San Francisco. This space port is placed under the agreement that The Consortium, an alien committee advertised as ‘The UN of space’, will help humanity into the stars at the price of an insignificant amount of water to fuel space travel. This seems like a good bargain: one that humanity willingly agrees to as they take in the various species. However, many of these species do as they please, and as tensions grow and the ever-restless local populace takes to violence, the truth comes forth.
Shockingly, the aliens see the Earth as less of an ally, and more of a space gas station. The port itself is there to make The Consortium rich. The locals are finding the bargain struck to be less than equal. To help make amends in some way, the Consortium begins to work with humans, giving them access to alien tech to help keep the locals and the aliens from killing each other.
Our Thoughts on Port of Earth:
This book was one that is enjoyable yet hard to recommend to fellow comics readers. This high-concept book aims a little less for the optimistic outlook of fare like Star Trek and a little closer to the more cynical look of Ridley Scott’s Alien. It’s less about collaboration to achieve and more about big businesses looking to make a buck. The people working for the peace keeping forces seem to stay positive though, seeing the job as a decent one.
The art has sort of a washed out look that isn’t prevalent in modern books, but it can be a little drab to some readers. It calls back to Patrick Nagel’s clean lines and limited color schema. The design of the alien ships does show some imagination in differentiating the aliens from each other. It feels like a great deal of effort put into the world, making the reader desire to see more of it.
Pros: The allegory of advanced civilizations using less advanced ones for their own ends has always been rife with possibility. The alien tech is cool looking.
Cons: The panel design is a little unexciting, coupled with the limited pallet that might scare away would be readers. There is a bit of a meandering narrative with no central focus on characters, just ideas.
Overall: If you can deal with some of the problems, there are good ideas here. Hard science fiction fans will definitely want to pick this up.