Bill Coffin Aims His Comic Book Periscope At Port Of Earth #1 (Image Comics)
Written by Bill Coffin
Port of Earth, a new story by writer Zack Kaplan and artist Andrea Mutti uses the premise of alien visitation to Earth as a way to explore issues of colonialism, job displacement, and at what price a people are willing to give up their sovereignty in return for a higher quality of life. It is an interesting premise with potential, but uneven execution and too much exposition mars its inaugural issue.
The story takes place in the near future, after aliens have visited the planet and helped us build a refueling station for other alien travelers, whose ships all run on water. We have plenty, the aliens and humans won’t interact, so what’s the harm? Well, plenty. The aliens who engineered the deal are the galactic version of a major multinational corporation, and they don’t really give a hoot about Earth’s welfare. To keep the deteriorating security situation under control, the Earth is tasked with creating a human-alien police force to investigate crimes. And crimes, there are.
This is an intriguing premise with solid artwork throughout, and more than enough hints of a much larger setting for the reader to discover. But Port of Earth #1 spends a little too much time expounding on background and not enough time setting up a present story for us to care about. As we follow the exploits of two security officers, we wonder if they are our protagonists, or the subjects of an extended scene-setting exercise. What’s worse is that we don’t really care to find out.
Port of Earth #1 compounds this by filling out the issue with four pages of setting data that would be far better enjoyed as the story unfolds. As it is, Port of Earth does too much telling, not enough showing. This one still needs some work.