Port of Earth #3 is The Wire…With Aliens

by James Ferguson

An alien conglomerate came to Earth with a business proposition. If humanity built a spaceport, they’d be given all kinds of advanced technology. This has had drastic consequences for the world over. Now a pair of ESA agents are hunting down a rogue alien that has escaped the port, threatening the lives of the people it encounters, but to what purpose? Why is it doing this?

Each issue of Port of Earth has opened with a hard-hitting interview with ESA Director Tom Rutgers. He’s forced to defend the questionable actions the government has taken in the wake of the aliens’ arrival. This one shines a light on the effect on the economy. One of the technological marvels bestowed upon humanity was a water engine, a device that turned water into energy. In an instant, every other energy company, from gas and oil to wind and solar, was put out of business. This resulted in a huge rise in unemployment while a select few companies (the ones given the technology) flourished.
This is one of the things that I love about Port of Earth. Writer Zack Kaplan has thought of everything. How would the world really react to something like this? It’s well-written hard sci-fi. It’s also rather eye-opening because this is something I wouldn’t have thought about at all. There are also some chilling parallels to events and actions in the real world.

The introductory interview also serves to further expand upon the world of Port of Earth. All of this could have been covered in a page long block of text in the first issue. Instead, it’s parsed out in a very interesting and dynamic way. It’s not like a history lesson. Colorist Vladimir Popov gives this (and the rest of the comic) a drab, almost colorless palette. It’s like the joy has been drained out of these people. They once looked to the stars in hope and now do so in disgust.
We then turn our attention to ESA Agents Rice and McIntyre. They’ve just survived an encounter with the rogue alien and they’re regrouping before their next steps. This has become a military operation through and through. Artist Andrea Mutti provides an intimidating look at the power of the ESA as helicopters and ATVs swarm on this location. This is a wave of strength coming down for a single alien.

I love the design for the ESA agent suits. They’re a bit like the Stormtroopers from Star Wars, but they look a little beat up. It’s like they’ve seen regular wear and tear and haven’t been properly maintained. Elements like these serve to remind you that it’s a sci-fi comic and not a police drama.
The dynamic between Rice and McIntyre creates a gripping narrative. You can see both sides to their ongoing argument. Rice wants to follow the rules, while his partner is ready to kill this alien at the drop of a hat. On the one hand, there are protocols for this kind of thing, but on the other, this creature has already shown how dangerous it is and it could hurt or kill other people. This exchange elevates them above your standard cop stereotypes.

The end of Port of Earth #3 changes direction a bit. It opens up a new world of possibilities and questions. This is not just a runaway alien story. There’s a lot more going on and I’m very curious as to where it’s going next. This couples nicely with the interview segment at the beginning of the issue too.
Port of Earth is The Wire with aliens. If you took the space age weapons out of the ESA agents hands, they could be beat cops looking for drug dealers. This is a gritty, realistic sci-fi thriller. Each issue will keep you guessing, while pulling you in for more.
Port of Earth #3 is published by Top Cow and is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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