Comic Reviews: Port of Earth and Coyotes!
Port of Earth #1 (Image Comics)
What if Earth finally made contact with an alien race, and was turned into a glorified truck stop? That’s the premise of Point of Earth, the new Image series from Zack Kaplan and Andrea Mutti. An interesting mix of District 9 and cop dramas like Edge of Watch, Port of Earth has a great set up and hook, but the second half falls a little short of it’s potential.
Years ago, Earth made contact with a group of aliens called The Consortium. This group of aliens served as a coalition for different races that explored our galaxy. Since their technology is completely fueled by water, they strike a deal with Earth to use our world as a port in exchange for their technology. Once the port is built, things go pretty smoothly, until a rogue group of aliens makes it past the port’s barriers and begin attacking humans. Realizing in the aftermath that the Consortium is less like the United Nations of aliens and more like a major corporation that only cares about profits, the people of Earth decide to create their own police force to make sure no one goes into, or comes out of, the port again.
Usually I groan when the debut issue of an Image series does a huge info dump, but with Port of Earth it’s actually the best part of the issue. Zack Kaplan’s script is served best in this documentary style, and the history of the port is really interesting. Hell, it probably should’ve been the actual focus of the story, because once Kaplan switches gears to follow around a few members of the port’s police force, the book suddenly loses all momentum. Sure, having drones follow these two officers around is a cool “on the ground” way to present Port of Earth’s story, but after a promising first half, it brings the book to an almost screeching halt. Since Port of Earth is Kaplan’s second comic series, it stands to reason that he’s probably just working out the kinks in this story, which I hope ends up being the case because the premise of this series is really good.
While Kaplan may be a new name in the industry, Andrea Mutti certainly isn’t. After working with almost every major publisher, Mutti’s getting into the Image game with Port of Earth¸ and he’s got a great handle on this material. Like Kaplan, Mutti’s art is at it’s best in the earlier half of the book, simply because there’s more interesting stuff happening in the script for him to draw. But that doesn’t mean that Mutti’s art suddenly drops off after that. In fact, it’s actually still really great, but like in Kaplan’s script, you might find yourself feeling like the book has suddenly doubled in length.
While Port of Earth’s debut issue isn’t quite as strong as I’d have liked it to be, I do think this will be a series to keep an eye on. The documentary style is an interesting way to narrate the series, and the main hook is pretty solid. Here’s hoping that Kaplan and Mutti can improve on what they’ve set up in this first issue. If they do that, then we may have another Image hit series on our hands.
Coyotes #1 (Image Comics)
I’ve always been a fan of werewolves, so when I heard the pitch for Coyotes, the new Image series from Sean Lewis and Caitlin Yarsky, I was pretty intrigued. Described as Sicario meets Underworld, I was expecting some cool, south of the border tinged horror. Unfortunately, Coyotes doesn’t quite fit that description. While there are werewolves in the book, that reveal comes much later in this debut issue, and what happens before that is actually a little boring.
Sean Lewis’ script spends a lot of time building up the back story of our heroine, Analia. Orphaned at a young age, she’s been trained to take on the wild coyotes that plague her home (these coyotes are actually humans that transform into the monsters, but that’s not something that we find out for some time). Instead, we get a lot of information about Analia’s back story, and while Analia seems like a cool character, it doesn’t change the fact that much of her back story that’s told here is pretty boring. Lewis’ script doesn’t give us quite enough to latch onto to get invested in Analia’s story, and in many ways it falls into the dreaded info dump trap that plagues a lot of Image first issues.
While the script may disappoint, at least the art is good. I’ve never seen Caitlin Yarsky’s work before, but it’s pretty damn stellar in this issue. An interesting mix of Becky Cloonan and Chris Samnee, Yarksy’s style is definitely a little on the cartoony side, but it helps because it makes the coyotes look that much more monstrous. There’s an added layer of menace in the way Yarsky makes these creatures look, and she also depicts Analia as a really quick and lithe fighter as well.
I had some pretty high hopes for Coyotes, but unfortunately they weren’t met. I hope the book finds an audience though, because the idea of a group of women who hunt werewolves is awesome, and who knows? Maybe the series will read better when it’s collected in trade paperback. But as it stands right now, Coyotes #1 falls under the “almost made it” file for current Image debuts.