Do you believe in aliens? Well, do you?
Eh. I really don’t care what your answer is. I’m just blanking on a good hook to start talking about a comic book centered around aliens. It worked though, didn’t it? Maybe? Hopefully.
Most of the comic books I read tend to feature superheroes. But, when I can’t get superheroes, I’ll take the next best thing: Aliens. UFOology certainly delivered that.
Written by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Matthew Fox, and colored by Adam Metcalfe, UFOology was released as a 160-page trade paperback on May 3rd. It’s an interesting blend of nerdy teenagers and the X-files. Needless to say, I was very entertained.
Becky Finch doesn’t want to be special. She just wants to be a normal high school student in the small, Midwestern town of Mukawgee. She’s not even sure if she wants to go to college or not, though goodness knows she’s bright enough.
Malcolm Chamber does want something more. A destiny. An answer from the stars. He and his father run a radio station focusing on extraterrestrial activities. He’s never seen any alien activity, but that doesn’t stop him. He knows they’re there. He’s just never been able to verify it. Not until just recently, anyway.
When Becky is marked by an alien’s touch, she’ll stumble into a mystery she never wanted. A mystery that almost ripped apart both their parents’ lives 12 years ago. She’ll need the help of her eccentric young classmate, Malcolm, as she finds the power within herself to uncover the truth.
This comic book has a lot going on for it. The characterization is absurdly fun: Malcolm lacks all social skills and Becky is a bit of a porcupine. Add in the fact that they are both extremely bright teens, and together they make a highly entertaining duo.
I also enjoyed the fact that, unlike many stories featuring adolescent main characters, the parents actually played a part in the story, too. And not as annoying, narrow minded adults, but as well-developed characters. Malcolm’s dad, the host for a fun, supernatural-themed radio station was an especially interesting character. If his radio station was real, I would definitely tune in. Getting to “hear” it through the comic book was one of my favorite parts of the story.
While this story can be really funny at points, it also can be very touching. There are some quite profound quotes and a great “look to the stars” theme. It appeals to the dreamer and star-gazer side that I like to think that we all have: The part that makes us look at the sky and think, “Wow. If those millions of sparkles of light can sit in the sky like that, then I believe I can do anything.” Everybody has that, right? If the answer is no, don’t tell me. Just let me go on dreaming.
The illustration was good for the most part, except for the odd fact that Becky and Malcolm look very similar to each other. In fact, the first time I saw Malcolm I thought he was Becky. The only time I should ever confuse a male character for a female character is if I’m reading manga. Other than that, though, the artwork was pretty good, especially the instances in which Matthews was able to illustrate landscapes and star ways.
I also have to comment on the coloring: It’s super cool. Metcalfe uses mostly secondary colors, which gave the entire story a neat sci-fi vibe. Many of the pages had a purple or greenish tint that I thought was a great touch. What can I say? I like pretty colors and Metcalfe really hit the spot.
The pacing was great: no dragging or unnecessary breaks. It was exciting and some parts felt like a very tamed-down horror story. Not give-you-nightmares scary, just a light, fun scary.
The plot did get a bit convoluted at the end, though, which was unfortunate. I was kind of bummed to see that the government got dragged into things. I was hoping it would just be a plain alien story with no conspiracy theories. Sure, they’re fun, just a little overdone in the alien genre.
But you know what? I don’t mind. This comic book was a whole lot of fun to read. I loved the characters and the heartfelt theme of reaching for the stars mixed with scary alien encounters. If you’re a dreamer, like alien stories, or are a fan of unique coloring and great characters, then James Tynion IV’s UFOology is for you.
This comic book was supplied to Constant Collectible by BOOM Studios in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Hannah Heath – bookworm and author