Undiscovered Country has been an interesting look at what could be if America shuttered its borders and marinated in its patriotism for a few decades. Mixing fantasy, sci-fi, and action, the series has been a striking example of how indie comics can mix things up to a point where you’re rushing to make sense of something new and different. The series has at times struggled in finding its identity, but there is so much inventive energy in this series I hold out hope it’ll pull together. The characters have reached the second zone, which is exciting and scary considering the first zone was so insane. Will it make sense? If you’re into mind-bending sci-fi, you may just love it.
This issue opens with the characters interacting with Uncle Sam, who they thought was dead. Soon they’re seeing wonders so impossible an unscientistifc person might assume it’s magic or god’s work. There are mind-bending visual ideas at work here that are interesting from a sci-fi fan perspective. This second zone is a good one to follow up the last, which was like a Mad Max hellscape, and now we’re getting a clean Westworld vibe that’s controlled and incredible.
There’s a fascinating explanation of what we might be seeing, although it comes off a little too forced narratively. Not knowing how things work in the bigger picture introduces a lot of doubt and confusion into the premise. More connection to the bigger picture might help ground what we’re learning and seeing, but unfortunately leaving the reader in the dark as to how any of this is possible remains a sticking point. That said, if you want wonderment, this book has it in droves.
The idyllic nature of the world builds to a resoundingly scary final page. The art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi with colors by Matt Wilson help maintain the incredible nature of this second zone. It’s clear at this point each zone will be a vividly different world, and the art team does an amazing job creating a new place to explore. The uniqueness of the technology and world is striking. How it connects to American values is also interesting, and the art team captures that element, too. As far as colors, Wilson has fewer chances to strike us with his abilities, but you see it n the cheeks of characters, the strange veins in trees, and the opportune splash of color behind a panel.
As far as the deeper story for characters’ personal journeys, there’s more here to dig into. You may not know what is truly going on, but there’s enough here to start coming to conclusions. The Uncle Sam character’s role may be more important with a reveal here, which is helpful in understanding his role in the flashback and in the present. There are clear ties to personal journeys for characters that I’m interested in following.
There is a lot of promise in Undiscovered Country, and I’m thirsty for more. Whether or not it builds or requires a few more issues to allow the series to breathe remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful the endgame will deliver. This issue shows plenty of promise and creative sci-fi verve worth reading.
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