Undiscovered Country depicts a future America that’s turned its back on the global community and sealed itself off from all outside communications and influnecs. Not that this radical initiative has saved America, judging the vision of the States put forward by co-creators Scott Synder, Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli. Now, a specific set of people have been invited back into this bizarro America under the pretence of receiving a cure to a world-wide pandemic and save the world. This should be an auspicious world-saving, unifying moment, but as anyone who’s been reading this twisted, prescient sci-fi series knows, things couldn’t be more mysterious as the plane carrying these invited guests is shot down in the opening pages of the debut issue. Curiouser and curiouser.
If anything, the dramatic ending to this sixth issue, out Wednesday 10th June from Image Comics, suggests we’ve only just begun our bizarre ride through an American landscape that’s both familiar and equally foreign to many readers too. For me, it has the same vibe and narrative force behind it that I remember reading, and falling in love with, when I discovered Judge Dredd’s epic Cursed Earth saga from the late 70s. An America that’s rotten and rotting, plagued and littered with the detritus and nostalgia of Americana that would have the American Pickers drooling, as well as a growing set of weirdo characters magnificently designed and realised by Camuncoli. That, and it’s inclusion of social commentary and it’s a series that certainly shares such of the aforementioned 2000AD classic’s DNA. Although, even looking back at a story from 4 decades ago, Dredd’s saga is more biting in its commentary on America, with the same social ills commented on still, sadly, prevalent today, and in some cases even worse. As recent events have revealed. But, I am in danger of digressing again.
Back to Undiscovered Country #6.
With the past five issues fleshing out both this almost alien world as well as inviting the readers to learn more about many of the invited guests to the shores of America, this issue feels like a changing of gear, with the action ramped up as the narrative hurtles – both literally and figuratively – forward and promising an even larger backdrop upon which this adventure will continue. The conclusion to Undiscovered Country #6 and the promise of a new chapter in this unfolding sci-fi saga next issue.
There’s the odd surprise too, with not all characters making it to the end of this particular issue, as well as the ever-present, gripping mysteries surrounding the identity of Aurora – running America from the shadows – and the rag tag, enigmatic Destiny Man. Interesting that both he and ‘Uncle Sam’ share the same mantra; “Live free of die!” Hmmm. There’s something in that, you mark my words.
Throw into this mix the backstories of the very far-from-Magnificent Seven who have been hand-picked by Aurora, and the further mystery of why these particular people have been invited and you have a series that, in it’s developing complexities, is growing into its own. What readers may have originally though was going to be a story of family dynamics between the two estranged siblings, Daniel and Charlotte Graves, has evolved and expanded into a larger story with stand-out characters such as Colonel Pavel Bukowski coming to the fore in recent issues. Although, he may have his own path to forge judging from his role and the choices he makes in this issue.
Undiscovered Country #6 is a roller-coaster ride of an issue, a summer blockbuster’s third act, with the Destiny Man and Uncle Sam both turning up for one Hell of a showdown. There are reunions, and double-crosses and, as said earlier, a death that could be seen as symbolic, if I didn’t feel what this particular character represented wasn’t dead already. Or, at least, lost. Will Daniel, Charlotte and the rest of the crew find what they’re looking for and save America, and save the world? After all, this seems to be what’s at stake here, and so there’s everything to loose and very high stakes. As this series turns a huge corner, those odds are only going to get worse, I fear. But, I’ll happily read on from the sidelines! Things have only just started heating up and so will you still be along for the ride across this exaggerated vision of America?