In the great tradition of thought-provoking first contact science-fiction like District 9 and Arrival, comes Zack Kaplan and Andrea Mutti’s Port of Earth, out this week from Image and Top Cow.
Kaplan, whose Eclipse is one of the better sci-fi comics to come out in recent years, sets up a near-future Earth that is visited by aliens not motivated by conquest or exploration, but by business. In exchange for permission to establish a galactic port fifty miles off the coast of San Francisco, a consortium of alien industrialists shares planet-saving technology with our world: the ability to transform water into power.
The series doesn’t seem to be about the ramifications of averting an energy crisis (which is a good thing, because there is no explanation as to how consuming a non-renewable energy source like water can be of “no consequence”), but rather the allegorical implications of setting up business in someone else’s backyard. Indeed, right off the bat, outbreaks of violence lead to the creation of an Earth Security Alliance, tasked with keeping the peace and protecting both humans, as well as the alien investment.
The premise is interesting enough, but what will really keep me reading is the mystery that unfolds with the latest incident. An ESA buddy cop duo report to a crime scene where an unemployed mechanic is found murdered, a softball-sized hole ventilating his torso. And the clues on the scene point to a red threat level alien. I dig on some cosmos building, and this first issue’s appendix features a fun sourcebook on some of the extra-terrestrials Kaplan and Mutti have cooked up for this series, separated into known consortium members and hostile species.